/ Cycling

Nibali all but confirms Tour de France victory

Updated: Saturday, 26 Jul 2014 21:39 | Comments

Vincenzo Nibali is all set to become the sixth man to win all three grand tours
Vincenzo Nibali is all set to become the sixth man to win all three grand tours

Having dominated on all terrains, Vincenzo Nibali is set to win the Tour de France after avoiding any late dramas on Saturday in the penultimate stage, a 54-km time trial from Bergerac won by Tony Martin.          

Italian Nibali finished fourth in the stage, nearly two minutes slower than the dominant German - who clocked one hour six minutes 21 seconds - but will roll into Paris on Sunday with an overall lead of seven minutes 52 seconds.               

Jean-Christophe Peraud climbed to second overall ahead of compatriot Thibaut Pinot and France are now poised to have two riders on the podium for the first time since Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault finished first and second in 1984.

Nicolas Roche was 97th today's stage and is now 39th in general classification.

Nibali will become the sixth man to win all three grand tours barring a crash in Sunday's processional final stage that ends on the Champs Elysees, and the first Italian to win the Tour de France since the late Marco Pantani in 1998.
              
"It was not an easy time trial, it required a lot of power," said Astana rider Nibali who has won four stages and has worn the yellow jersey for most of the race since snatching it on the second day in Sheffield, England.        

FDJ.fr rider Pinot, who will claim the white jersey for the best under-25 rider ahead of compatriot Romain Bardet, is 8:24 off the pace. 
             
"Near the end I was empty, the last 5-km felt really long," said Pinot. 
             
Peraud started the day third overall behind Pinot but was stronger against the clock than his young compatriot and managed to beat him despite suffering a puncture soon after the halfway point.
              
His AG2R-La Mondiale team mate Bardet also had a puncture 2-km from the line, losing fifth place overall to American Tejay van Garderen by two seconds. 

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