The 2014 Tour de France is complete, and after 21 stages of intense racing, it’s finally time to determine which cyclist and team will receive the prize money on the line for this event.
Vincenzo Nibali of UCI ProTeam Astana won the overall standings with an impressive time of 89 hours, 59 minutes and six seconds. For his trouble, Nibali won €450,000, according to the Tour de France’s official website.
Here is the full table of the final standings, the complete purse payout distribution and a focus on the 2014 Tour de France champion.
|2||Jean Christophe Peraud||AG2R||+7:37|
|5||Tejay van Garderen||BMC||+11:24|
|9||Laurens ten Dam||Belkin||+18:11|
Tour de France 2014 Prize Money
|King of the Mountains||€25,000||€15,000||€10,000||€5000||€2500|
|Super Combative rider||€20,000||-||-||-||-|
|Best Young Rider (White Jersey)||€25,000||€15,000||€10,000||€5000||€2500|
Best Cyclist of 2014: Vincenzo Nibali
The 2014 champion and top rider of the Tour de France was Italian Nibali. After winning the 2013 Giro d'Italia, Nibali stole the show this year when favorites Alberto Contador and Chris Froome crashed out early in the event.
Nibali won four stages total during the 2014 Tour (Stage 2: York – Sheffield; Stage 10: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles; Stage 13: Saint-Etienne – Chamrousse; and Stage 18: Pau – Hautacam) and proved to be one of the best riders on the mountains.
CafeRoubaix.com talked about the champion's dominance:
Vincenzo Nibali wears the yellow jersey for the 18th day. Last rider to do this in one Tour de France was Luis Ocana, in 1973.— CafeRoubaix (@CafeRoubaix) July 27, 2014
While he may not be the best rider on the flat stages, his overall consistency allowed him to hold the yellow jersey on Stages 2 though 8. He lost the lead on Stage 9 but took it back on Stage 10 and never relinquished it again.
Nibali became the first Italian since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Tour. For a cyclist who idolized Pantani, Nibali has become an icon of Italian cycling in the same vein as his childhood hero, as mentioned via the NBC Sports Net broadcast.
After Stage 20, Nibali spoke to Letour.com, via Mike Dawes of the Daily Mail, about how he perceives his performance and the lead he took into Sunday’s final ride:
It's fantastic to have won four stages. I didn't believe I'd do that. There aren't many stages till the finish now and my lead is consolidated. I'm pretty serene. I've wanted to leave a footprint in the Pyrenees. I wanted to show that I'm the strongest, I wanted the stage win.
If I have a seven minutes lead, it's not because of a great performance one day. It's because of seconds I've collected here and there while my adversaries have sometimes gained something and paid the following day for their efforts. My lead is so big because I succeeded in my first goal to gain time on the cobble stones (on stage five). It was certainly not easy to get 2:30 there.
For many cycling fans, this year’s event was a battle between defending champion Froome and perennial contender Contador, but crashes took each out of contention. The loss of the two top contenders opened the door for Nibali and Team Astana to grab the yellow jersey.
There was never a doubt that Nibali would struggle at times on the time trials and sprint stages, but his ability running through the mountain stages was his biggest strength and the ultimate difference in his winning effort.
It takes plenty of luck to win the Tour de France. American star Andrew Talansky found himself as one of Nibali's top challengers, but he ended up on the wrong end of a serious crash.
Talansky’s crash opened the door even wider for Nibali.
With an easy cruise on Stage 21, Nibali was able to drink champagne with his teammates and used the final race of the Tour de France as a glorified victory lap. For a man who spent the better part of three weeks as the overall leader, he deserved a simple ride through Paris.
*Stats and info via LeTour.com.