Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali enjoyed some rare success in this year’s Tour de France by claiming a vintage win on the 19th stage as Chris Froome came under fire but retained the overall lead on Friday.
Nibali, who had dropped out of contention in the race after a tough first week and a bad first day in the Pyrenees, broke away from a group of top riders 61 kilometres from the finish.
On his way to victory, the Italian caught and dropped Frenchman Pierre Rolland in the final climb, an 18-km ascent to the ski resort of La Toussuire at an average gradient of 6.1 per cent.
The Astana rider crossed the line 44 seconds ahead of Colombian Nairo Quintana, who attacked Froome in the finale, finishing second 30 seconds ahead of the Briton.
Froome leads Quintana by 2:38 and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, who finished with the other big guns 2:26 off the pace, by 5:25.