Vincenzo Nibali became only the sixth rider in history to win a clean sweep of all three of cycling's biggest races as he finally won the Tour de France, in Paris.
The Italian completed a full house of Grand Tours, winning the overall race in a time of 89:58:46—almost eight minutes clear of the field.
Here is a rundown of the jersey winners and final results:
|2||Jean Christophe Peraud||AG2R||+7:52|
|5||Tejay van Garderen||BMC||+11:44|
|9||Laurens ten Dam||Belkin||+18:20|
|9||Greg van Avermaet||BMC||153|
|6||Alessandro De Marchi||Cannondale||78|
|10||Tejay van Garderen||BMC||48|
The green jersey, handed to the top sprinter, went to Cannondale's Peter Sagan. Despite the rider not winning any stage, he held on to the jersey from the second day onwards and never relinquished it.
He finally won the sprinters accolade by 149 points ahead of the field—a truly convincing performance of 431 points in total—with Alexander Kristoff placing second on 282 points.
Rafal Majka took the polka-dot jersey to be crowned king of the mountains. The Tinkoff-Saxo cyclist edged the honour ahead of Nibali, accumulating 181 points—just 13 points ahead of the overall champion.
And Thibaut Pinot of FDJ.fr won the title of best young rider and the coveted white jersey, marking him out as one to watch in the future.
Nibali was delighted with his overall victory in Paris, saying, per Ian Austen of the New York Times:
“Now that I find myself on the highest step on the Champs-Élysées podium, it’s more beautiful than I ever imagined.”
And VeloNews.com quoted Nibali after his win, already looking forward to the future:
I’ve taken my place in the history of the Tour and that’s very important, but those others also made their names in other great races, such as the classics. I never thought about making history, I just concentrated on trying to win the Tour, like I won the Giro and the Vuelta, because I’m a stage racer.
Of course there are other races that I want to to win, like the Tour of Lombardy in which I’ve come close many times but not had the luck. Or the World Championships, which I tried to win last year, or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I’ve always liked these races and I’d like to try to win them, even though I’m more suited to stage races.
VeloNews editor Neal Rogers also congratulated the new champion, saying nothing should be taken away from him despite a reduced field of top riders.
And seriously, enough about Froome & Contador. Staying upright is part of the game. NIbali did that. He should be congratulated for it #TDF— Neal Rogers (@nealrogers) July 24, 2014
Nibali's competition was greatly reduced this year with the Tour's last two winners unable to challenge in 2014.
Last year's winner Chris Froome exited early from the race after injury and Team Sky omitted Sir Bradley Wiggins from a ride. Alberto Contador also pulled out after a crash on Stage 10.
Would Vincenzo Nibali have won the 2014 Tour de France ahead of Chris Froome?
If any had been present, the Italian may not have been such a runaway success, but he destroyed a field of top cyclists to valiantly claim the biggest prize in the sport. Next year, Froome should return to make amends and battle to reclaim the title many thought would be his again in 2014. Wiggins looks unlikely to return as a serious contender for the Tour anytime in the future.
Nibali's achievement of joining the band of triple Grand Tour winners cannot be ignored and he has now propelled himself into the category of one of cycling's greatest riders. He will be one of the favourites again next year but the full inclusion of Froome and Contador will guarantee an epic competition.