Nibali close to first Tour title

ITALY’S Vincenzo Nibali won the summit finish at Hautacam to claim victory in stage 18 and all but seal his first Tour de France crown.

It was a fourth stage victory for the Astana rider with Nibali now a commanding seven minutes and 10 seconds clear of second-placed Frenchman Thibaut Pinot in the overall Tour standings.

“It wasn’t for the rankings, I just wanted another stage win,” said Nibali. “To win a stage in the Pyrenees is very important and it was for the whole team.”

There are just three stages remaining including the race finale in Paris on Sunday, with Nibali set to become just the sixth man to win the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.