29-year-old becomes first Italian since the late Marco Pantani to take the yellow jersey
In a fittingly dramatic mass sprint finish, it was German Marcel Kittel who crossed the line first on a festive-looking Champs-Elysées, bringing to an end the Tour de France 2014. Kittel was only a wheel ahead of Norwegian Alexander Kristoff and Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas, with Frenchman Jean-Chrisophe Péraud also in the hunting pack.
Although there was to be no French winner in this year’s 101st edition of the famous race, there was very real consolation for the home crowd in the fact that they had two podium finishers in the form of 37-year-old Jean-Christophe Péraud who finished in second place and 24-year-old climber Thibaut Pinto (FDJ) in third. You have to go back to 1997 for the last time there was a podium finish of any kind for a French rider. This was a highly encouraging Tour, therefore, for the host country of the world’s greatest cycle race, with three riders finishing in the top six.
But the day belonged to Nibali. In winning the coveted maillot jaune, he not only becomes the first Italian since the late Marco Pantani’s victory in 1998, he also becomes only the third cyclist in history to have won all three major tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta de Espana).
The green jersey for the points winner went to Slovak Peter Sagan of the Cannondale team while the polka dot jersey for King of the Mountain went to Rafal Majka (Tinkoff team) of Poland. Majka’s team-mate Irishman Nicolas Roche finished in 39th position out of a finishing field of 164.
Le Tour – Photos of the Final Day