Tour de France Stage 18: Vincenzo Nibali rides away to fourth stage win

Italian poised to make history, Rafal Majka seals polka dot jersey, Alejandro Valverde off the podium

by Simon_MacMichael   July 24, 2014  

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Astana's Vincenzo Nibali has taken his fourth stage victory of the 101st edition of the Tour de France after riding away from his rivals on the final mountain of this year's race, the Hautacam, as he heads towards becoming just the sixth man ever to win all three of cycling's Grand Tours.

Tinkoff-Saxo's Rafal Majka was in a quartet of riders that fought it out for second place seconds behind the Italian and just has to finish the race in Paris on Sunday to ensure himself victory in the mountains classification.

Also in that group of four riders were the men who occupied third and fourth overall this morning, Thibaut Pinot of FDR.fj and Jean-Christophe Peraud of AF2R.

They had started the stage 34 and 42 seconds respectively behind second-placed Alejandro Valverde, a move from Piinot which Peraud and BMC's Tejay van Garderen followed distancing the Spaniard with 5.5 kilometres remaining.

The FDJ.fr rider crossed the line in second place, 1 minute 10 seconds down on Nibali, with Majka third and Peraud fourth, the latter 1 minutes 15 seconds behind the stage winner.

Valverde tried desperately to limit his losses but crossed the line 44 seconds behind Peraud, and drops to fourth overall, just 2 seconds behind the Frenchman.

Earlier in the stage, AG2R's Blel Kadri, a member of what had been a 20-man escape group on the 145.5 kilometre stage from Pau, overhauled fellow escapee Mikel Nieve of Team Sky to scoop the 5,000 euro Souvenir Jacques Goddet prize on offer for being the first man over the Col du Tourmalet.

The pair began the final ascent of the Tourmalet together, but Nieve subsequently dropped the Frenchman. Behind, Nibali followed a move from Lampre-Merida's Chris Horner with 10.5 kilometres to go, the pair overhauling Kadri and the race leader distancing the current Vuelta champion shortly after.

With 8 kilometres left, Nibali cruised past Nieve on his way to becoming what is likely to be the first Tour de France champion since Eddy Merckx in 1974 to win four road stages.

There remained one scare for him as he struck a female spectator, on the phone and with her back to the race, presumably trying to get her face on television, but the Astana rider stayed upright as he rode away to effectively seal his place in cycling history.

Reaction to follow

11 user comments

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I think Nibali actually joined the collection of riders who got caught up in a selfie. It looked like she was trying to snap one.

posted by nicholassmith [68 posts]
24th July 2014 - 16:49

20 Likes

Only if she was trying to take a selfie of her right ear. With a macro lens Nerd

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8167 posts]
24th July 2014 - 17:35

25 Likes

Here you go

Nibali spectator phone.png
Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8167 posts]
24th July 2014 - 17:40

33 Likes

Get in, 1st and 2nd! Deffo gotta quit now, that's 3 stages on the bounce for me. Chapeau Nibs!

posted by daddyELVIS [413 posts]
24th July 2014 - 18:15

37 Likes

Looks like Richie Porte has just completely given up on the Tour from the results from this and yesterday's stage.

posted by Paul J [629 posts]
24th July 2014 - 20:16

21 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Here you go

"I'm at the Tour de France. No the Tour de France! The cyclists are just coming past"

Rolling On The Floor

Airzound

posted by Airzound [336 posts]
24th July 2014 - 23:41

22 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Here you go

If you look closely her phone is in mid air as Nibali has just ridden into her and it has yet to hit the tarmac. Maybe she will need a new one.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [336 posts]
24th July 2014 - 23:46

15 Likes

She was quite hot though.

posted by darrenleroy [56 posts]
25th July 2014 - 9:14

14 Likes

nicholassmith wrote:
I think Nibali actually joined the collection of riders who got caught up in a selfie. It looked like she was trying to snap one.

I like the way she got a 'follow-up' slap from the police motorcyclist!

Nibali looked like he was 'hanging-out' a bit towards the end (looked more human!), but I sense he's a big one for 'respecting the yellow jersey' so felt it was the right thing to go for the win on the last mountain stage. Can't remember the circumstances but he gave Wiggo some grief about not 'respecting the yellow jersey' in 2012.

Shades

posted by Shades [202 posts]
25th July 2014 - 9:24

24 Likes

Nibali is on a club run social by the looks of the Tour, not seen him struggle once.

Leodis's picture

posted by Leodis [219 posts]
25th July 2014 - 10:27

19 Likes

Agree with Leodis. Fully expecting a dominant performance in TT, possibly a stage win - 5! Sneaking feeling of deja vu about this for me... His performance has made all previous heated debates about Wiggins being in the Sky team rather accademic though... Cool

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [220 posts]
25th July 2014 - 12:33

8 Likes