CHAMROUSSE, FRANCE – Stamping his dominance in the mountains and on the race overall, Vincenzo Nibali won Stage 13 of the Tour de France in the Alps on Friday up the hardest climb so far.
The Italian race leader collected his third Tour stage win by overtaking two other breakaway riders at the end of a grueling 197.5-km trek from Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse ski station.
With eight stages to the finish, Nibali’s yellow jersey looks an ever more permanent part of his wardrobe. Since the race began, he has held the overall lead for all but two stages — winning three of the hardest climbing legs of the race this year.
It’s looking likely that only a riding disaster will strip him of it.
The first of two days in the snow-capped mountains lived up to expectations as the daunting final ascent of 18 km with an average 7.3 percent gradient shook up the overall standings.
The main casualty was Richie Porte. The Australian, who became Team Sky leader after 2013 champion Chris Froome crashed out in Stage 5, had begun second to Nibali overall but lost time on the final climb and finished nearly 9 minutes off the pace.
Nibali, who has been calm and savvy in this race, crossed the line alone and thrust his hands in the air after finishing 10 seconds ahead of Poland’s Rafal Majka in second and Germany’s Leopold Konig in third, one second further back. The trailing two were far back in the overall standings, and not in contention to win the three-week race.
More important to Nibali was increasing the gap on his rivals for victory on the Champs-Elysees on July 27.