Vicenzo Nibali is the 2014 Tour de France champion! The Shark of Messina earned the yellow jersey in stage 2, and wore it for what must be a record 19 days during this year’s Tour. I don’t recall anyone ever wearing the maillot jaune for that long.
Nibali won with a lead of more than seven minutes over the next best rider. He won four stages and finished in the top ten riders in nine of the 21 stages. He ceded the jersey one day, in stage 9, to Tony Gallopin. That day, Nibali finished 1:34 behind the Frenchmen, but he took back the lead the following day in the Alps.
HOW NIBALI WON THE TOUR
The key moment of his victory came in stage 5 in the daunting rain and wind. It was the race over the cobblestones– a day where everyone suffered, almost half of the 190 or so riders crashed. But Nibali almost won the race, finishing 19 seconds behind the stage winner Lars Boom, while top contenders Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador were more than two minutes back. Defending champion Chris Froome quit the race that day after suffering a series of crashes in the early stages and was unable to hold his handlebars any longer. Nibali’s lead that day gave his Astana team momentum. Nibali showed his cards early and didn’t bluff in three weeks of racing. When he attacked, it stuck, and he won. He is the deserving champion. Veni, Vidi, Vic-enzo!