5 Reasons Vincenzo Nibali Winning the Tour De France Would Be Good for Cycling

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5 Reasons Vincenzo Nibali Winning the Tour De France Would Be Good for Cycling
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
A beaming Vincenzo Nibali was still in yellow as of Stage 11 of the Tour de France and right now looks like keeping it to the very end.

As of Monday's final rest day of the 2014 Tour de France, Astana's Vincenzo Nibali tops the general classification with what most assume to be an unassailable lead.

Given the form the Italian has been in, the four minutes and 37 seconds he holds over Alejandro Valverde should be enough to see him home.

The remaining obstacles of three stages in the Pyrenees and a testing time trial should ensure Nibali does not get ahead of himself. Referencing how Chris Horner got the better of him at last year's Vuelta a Espana, last week Nibali told The New York Times' Ian Austen (subscription required) "you should never underestimate anyone."

Nibali's dominance has been to the detriment of the competitiveness of this year's event from its mid-point onwards. With fellow favourites Alberto Contador and 2013 Tour winner Chris Froome out of the race, nobody has been able to keep up with "The Shark."

There was little he could do about his rivals getting injured. No matter your thoughts on the circumstances, Nibali is a likely champion whose success will undoubtedly benefit the sport of cycling.

Chiefly because of the brilliance of his riding in three memorable wins and a race-changing assault on the pave to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut. But also because of what the 29-year-old winning his first yellow jersey would mean for matters beyond this year's Tour de France.

The battle for yellow may be all but over. It is still, however, a procession worth savouring, even if it lacks some of the anticipated drama.

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