2014 At Age 29, Italian Hero Vincenzo Nibali
Won All Three Grand Tours
Messina is a town on the island of Sicily, which sits across the strait from the tip of the Italian Peninsula.
“The Shark of Messina” was born here. He has excellent control of his bicycle and descends slopes with god-like speed.
He is also quick in time trials and on mountain courses. Otherwise he would not have won the 2010 Vuelta a España, the 2013 Giro d’Italia and, as you can see in the photo, the 2014 Tour de France.
He is one of only six cyclists to win all three Grand Tours in his career.
The Grand Tours Are the Biggest, Greatest Stage Races
The Giro d’Italia in May, the Tour de France in July, and the Vuelta a España in September are the three great races of cycling we call the Grand Tours.
The Vuelta a España used to be held in spring, along with the Giro d’Italia, which made competing in both in the same year challenging, but the Vuelta was switched to autumn beginning in 1985 so riders could take on all three.
Still, nobody has yet to sweep them in a single year.
The competitor with the best overall record wears a yellow jersey called the maillot jaune at the Tour de France, a pink jersey called the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia, and a red jersey called the maillot rojo at the Vuelta a España.
The First Italian to Win the Individual Time Trial in 16 Years after Marco “the Pirate” Pantani
In 2014, Nibali took a chance to win his first Tour de France. The attention before the race was all on Kenyan-born British cyclist Chris Froome and Spanish rider Alberto Contador, while Nibali, who did not seem to be in as good condition, was not considered so much of a contender.
In Stage 5, the racers came down through a difficult stone-paved section also used for the Paris-Roubaix, “the Hell of the North,” and finished at Arenberg.
Rain had been falling since the night before and the stone-paved streets were rough. In fact, it was so perilous the organizers decided to shorten the course.
It was under such foul circumstances that Nibali decided to push himself hard.
He succeeded in opening a large gap ahead of his rivals. During this section, Froome crashed twice and had to retire. Nibali further extended his lead in the Alps and the Pyrenees.
During the 21-day race, Nibali wore the maillot jaune an impressive 19 days as he went on to win the Tour de France.
He also became the sixth person ever to win all the Grand Tours.
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