Nibali makes his mark as Porte cracks in Tour

Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:51pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

CHAMROUSSE France (Reuters) - There seems to be no stopping Vincenzo Nibali on the Tour de France as the Italian snatched a solo win in the 13th stage in a mountaintop finish, while Australian Richie Porte's title hopes disintegrated after his engine blew up in the heat on Friday.

Astana rider Nibali went on his own in the long climb to Chamrousse to open a 3:37 gap over Spain's Alejandro Valverde in the overall standings.

"I wanted to control the race. It was a very long climb, I thought it would never end," said Nibali, who is looking to complete his set of grand tour titles having won the Giro last year and the Vuelta in 2010.

"I wanted to gain time on Valverde, and I knew Porte had been dropped. Then after joining Majka and Konig, there was not much collaboration in the group so I decided to go on my own.

"It's going to be hard again tomorrow but Porte was clearly the one I need most to drop because of his time trialing abilities."

Final placings will be decided in the penultimate stage, a 54-km individual time trial in which Porte would have been confident of gaining ground on Nibali.

Romain Bardet is third overall in front of Thibaut Pinot despite losing 30 seconds to his fellow Frenchman in the stage, a 197.5-km trek from St Etienne, as France looks closer to having a rider on the podium in Paris for the first time since 1997.

Bardet, who holds the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider, is 4:24 off the pace with Pinot 16 seconds further back.   Continued...

Race leader yellow jersey holder Astana team rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 197.5km 13th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Saint-Etienne and Chamrousse, July 18, 2014.    REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier