Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winners podium of the Tour de France and sighin
Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winners podium of the Tour de France and sighinin
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Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winners podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees. Andrew Billings Jersey . Chants of "Vin-cen-zo!" rang across the famed avenue for the Sicilian, who dominated the race nearly from the start three weeks ago and on Sunday became the first Italian to win cyclings greatest race since Marco Pantani in 1998. Marcel Kittel of Germany won Stage 21 in a sprint, his fourth victory this year. Nibali cruised in 24 seconds later, easily retaining a lead of more than seven minutes on his closest rival. He received pats on the back, kissed his wife and infant daughter and was mobbed by cameras. "Now that I find myself on the highest step on the Champs-Elysees podium, its more beautiful than I ever imagined," Nibali, the Arc de Triomphe behind him, told the crowd. "Ive never been this moved in all my life." Nibali, likened by some as the emperor of the pack, conquered where others did not: notably Chris Froome of Britain, the 2013 Tour winner, and two-time champion Alberto Contador of Spain. Both crashed out with injuries before the halfway mark. As if mountain climbs, bone-jarring cobblestones, crashes and rain-splattered rides werent enough, Nibali faced the scrutiny that comes with the yellow jersey in a sport long damaged by drugs. Nibali, who calls himself "a flag-bearer of anti-doping," noted that his success came through pinpoint focus on this race as the season began and opportunistic attacks in which he was able to nibble seconds on his rivals. There were no eye-popping performances, as was the case when doping was so prevalent. The Astana team leader is only the sixth rider to win all three Grand Tours -- France, Italy and Spain. His win comes 10 years after Pantani, a flamboyant rider, died from a drug overdose. Nibali won four stages -- a feat not equaled by a Tour winner since Lance Armstrong won five a decade ago. The Italian wore the yellow jersey for all but two stages since Stage 1. His 7-minute, 37-second margin over runner-up Jean-Christophe Peraud equals that of Armstrong over Swiss rider Alex Zulle in 1999 -- a result nullified because of doping. Before that, the biggest margin was that of Germanys Jan Ullrich: He beat Richard Virenque by just more than nine minutes in 1997. In one of the subplots of this race, Peraud and third-placed Thibaut Pinot became the first Frenchmen to reach the Tour podium since Virenque in that year -- a fact not lost on many homegrown fans. Pinot was 8:15 behind. Armstrong, Ullrich and Virenque were caught in nearly a generation of doping scandals. Armstrong, in cyclings biggest scandal, admitted to doping and was stripped of his record seven Tour titles. Nibali and many others in the peloton say that era is past. But his own victories in the 2010 Vuelta and the Italian Giro last year were tarnished by doping involving other riders. Cyclings governing body has made great efforts to halt drug use, but few cycling experts believe the pack is fully clean. Authorities in Italy and France have been among the most aggressive in cracking down on doping, and the victory of an Italian, followed by two Frenchmen, could be a sign the peloton is getting cleaner. Some suggested that Nibali was just the best among the riders still in this Tour. Colombias Nairo Quintana, who won the Giro dItalia in May, didnt ride. Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner, was passed over so his Sky Team could focus on Froome. Then Froome and Contador pulled out. But even before they left, Nibali had a two-second lead on them by winning Stage 2. Then, in Stage 5 after Froome crashed out, the Italian excelled on cobblestone patches that slowed Contador, who lost more than 2 1/2 minutes to Nibali. The Spaniard felt compelled to attack. On a downhill in Stage 10, Contador fractured his shin. But Nibali -- known as "The Shark of the Strait" in a nod to the waterway near his hometown of Messina, Sicily, and his attacking style -- didnt stop there. He went on to win that stage, up to the super steep La Planche des Belles Filles. It was the first of three stages with uphill finishes that he won, adding one in the Alps and another in the Pyrenees -- each time dealing small but cumulatively significant blows to contenders. This 101st Tour began in Yorkshire, England, and guided riders over 3,664 kilometres (2,277 miles), with high-mountain rides in the Vosges, Alps and Pyrenees. Tejay van Garderen, the top U.S. rider, said on Twitter this was the hardest of his four Tours. He finished fifth overall, 11:24 behind Nibali, after climbing a spot in Saturdays time trial. Nibali said the Tour layout was "almost made to measure for me." He also noted that crashes are part of the race, and hes been such a victim in the past. As he stepped down from the podium, Nibali hurled the winners bouquet into the crowd, and a fan handed him an inflatable shark. Many waved French and Italian flags. "I think its very important for cycling in Italy because at the moment there isnt a lot of trust," said spectator Massimo Solaroli, a 47-year-old physical education teacher from the Italian town of Imola. "We dont believe an Italian champion can win an important race without doping." But Nibali, he added, gives reason for hope. "I think he can be a good champion for all the people, not only for Italian people, because hes very humble," he said. Billy Price Bengals Jersey . The thunderous cheers quickly changed to an appreciative chant: "Ma-son! Ma-son! Ma-son! Headed to New York with new life, Mason sure earned this curtain call. Billy Price Jersey . The agreement comes a little more than one week after the video game manufacturer agreed to a $40 million settlement in a similar but separate case, bringing the total payout planned for athletes to $60 million, said Steve Berman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, and the NCAA. http://www.bengalsauthoritystore.com/Authentic-Mark-Walton-Bengals-Jersey/ . During the furious first few hours of free agency Tuesday, the team agreed to terms with strong safety Donte Whitner, a Cleveland native who cant wait to play in his hometown.CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Chicago scored in a variety of ways to produce the Cubs best offensive nights of the young season. Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer before drawing a career-high four walks and Nate Schierholtz drove in three runs, rallying Chicago over the Cincinnati Reds 9-4 Wednesday night. Starlin Castro went 3 for 4 with two doubles for the Cubs, who matched their season-high in runs on the way to their second win in their last three games following a four-game losing streak. "We had good at-bats all night," Rizzo said. "Schierholtz had a huge at-bat in the ninth." Brayan Pena hit a solo homer for the Reds, who have lost four of five. Edwin Jackson (2-2) beat Cincinnati for the second time this year, allowing four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. Brian Schlitter, Wesley Wright, Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon combined for two-hit relief. "Its a good feeling," Jackson said about turning the game over to the bullpen. "We have confidence in those guys. Were confident that theyre going to come in and pick up the slack." With the score tied 3-3 in the fifth, the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Nick Christiani (0-1). Mike Olt hit into an RBI forceout, and Schierholtz followed with a sacrifice fly. Manager Rick Renteria wasnt surprised to see his Cubs string together productive at-bats. "Weve been having a tough time trying to tack on runs and score runs," he said. "Today was an example of what we can do. "It was a good day all around," the first-year manager added. "(Jackson) kept us in the game and the relief pitching did a nice job." Schierholtz added a two-run single off Sean Marshall against a drawn-in infield in a four-run ninth. "It was good to see Nate get a hit there," Renteria said. Chicago needed just three batters to take a 2-0 lead in the first on Emilio Bonifacios leadoff single and the left-handed hitting Rizzos 426-foot, opposite-field homer to left-centre off of left-hander Tony Cingrani. "Its really early,&" Rizzo said. Sam Hubbard Jersey. "Im just trying not to do too much, especially against left-handers. Im not trying to get three hits in one at-bat." Todd Frazier tied the score with a two-out, two-run double in the half. Pena, signed by the Reds as a free agent in November, gave the Reds a 3-2 lead when he homered leading off the second -- his first home run since Aug. 11. His previous NL homer was for Atlanta against the Marlins on April 13, 2007. Castros single tied the score in the third. Cincinnati starter Tony Cingrani gave up three runs and six hits in four innings. "Im just a little fatigued," said Cingrani, whose velocity noticeably dropped in his last inning. "I was labouring. I dont know what it is about the first inning. Ive just got to pitch." Cingrani denied that he was having back problems, which forced him to spend time on the disabled list last season. "My back is fine," he said. "Ill make some minor adjustments and see how it goes." Manager Bryan Price believes his left-hander is simply in a slump. "Cingrani wasnt real sharp," he said. "His velocity started to back down that last inning. I didnt think we should send him back out there and expect different results. Other than his first starts against St. Louis, hes been finding his way. We just want to make sure hes strong. He hasnt been sharp lately." Brandon Phillips had an RBI single in the fifth, his eighth hit in his last 46 at bats (.174). NOTES: Reds manager Bryan Price confirmed that LHP Aroldis Chapman will start and pitch one inning for Class A Dayton on Thursday in the first game of his minor league injury rehabilitation assignment. Price expects Chapman to make four appearances over seven to 10 days in the minors. Chapman had a plate inserted above his left eye to heal fractures from a line drive on March 19. ... The Cubs are scheduled to open a five-game homestand on Friday against St. Louis. The Reds are scheduled to open a four-game home series Thursday against Milwaukee, the team with the big leagues best record. Wholesale NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping NFL Jerseys Wholesale China NFL Gear Wholesale NFL Camo Jerseys Cheap NFL Hoodies Camo China NFL Jerseys ' ' '