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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 20 April, 2018

Nibali on the brink after stage 18 win

It’s all over bar the spin into Paris.

Image: Christophe Ena

VINCENZO NIBALI MOVED ever closer to a seemingly inevitable Tour de France victory with a superb win at stage 18 today.

The Astana rider caught breakaway leader Mikel Nieve (Sky) with eight kilometres remaining, and powered his way up the final ascent to Hautacam – thumping his heart as crossed the line to pick up his fourth stage win of this year’s Tour.

With Thursday’s 145.5km route from Pau to Hautacam marking the last foray into the mountains and Saturday’s time trial — a discipline not suited to Nibali — on the horizon, the Italian was determined to impress.

And he duly delivered a dominant display to further extend his lead in the general classification to over seven minutes.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) had started the day second behind Nibali, but he struggled on the final climb and finished the stage in 10th. He now slips to fourth in the race for the yellow jersey.

Thibaut Pinot crossed the line second ahead of stage 17 winner Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), and the FDJ.FR man is now second in the general classification, with Jean Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) third.

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