Nibali Wins Final Tour de France Mountain Stage

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the final mountain stage in cycling’s Tour de France to extend his lead in the overall classification while Alejandro Valverde dropped to fourth.

Nibali overtook Spain’s Mikel Nieve on the final climb on the Hautacam in the Pyrenees with 8 kilometers (5 miles) to go. He finished the 18th stage -- a 145.5 kilometer ride from Pau to Hautacam -- in a time of 4 hours, 4 minutes, 17 seconds yesterday. His fourth stage win extended his lead to 7 minutes, 10 seconds. The 29-year-old Italian champion has worn the leader’s yellow jersey since he won the 10th stage.

“I wanted another stage win,” the Astana Pro rider told broadcaster Eurosport after the race. “The team has worked so hard for me, and it’s so important to win a Pyrenees stage. I’m feeling pretty confident for the last few stages and I’m feeling pretty comfortable.”

Spain’s Valverde fell two spots to fourth in the overall standings after losing almost two minutes yesterday.

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who beat Rafal Majka in a sprint finish for second place on the top of the 1,520-meter Hautacam, moved up to No. 2 in the overall classification, ahead of compatriot Jean-Christophe Peraud.

The riders will cover 208.5 kilometers today in flat stage from Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac before tomorrow’s time trial. The Tour de France concludes in Paris on July 27.

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