Nibali tightens grip on title

Nibali tightens grip on title

Vincenzo Nibali strengthened his stranglehold on the Tour de France when he gained further ground over his rivals in the second Alpine stage won by Poland's Rafal Majka on Saturday.

Astana rider Nibali finished the 14th stage, a 177-km mountain trek from Grenoble, in second place but beat Alejandro Valverde by one minute as the battle for second overall looks set to go to the wire.

Valverde trails Nibali by 4:37 overall with Romain Bardet in third place 13 seconds further back after he, fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot and American Tejay van Garderen dropped Valverde in the closing stages of the final climb to the ski resort of Risoul.

Pinot is fourth overall 5:06 off the pace, 43 seconds ahead of Van Garderen while another Frenchman, Jean-Christophe Peraud, is sixth (6:08) after taking third place in the stage.

Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale, whose ambition is to win the team classification and the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider, tried several coups on a nervous day. Knowing that Pinot is cautious of speedy downhills, they pushed hard in the descent from the Col d'Izoard, at 2,360 metres the highest point of this year's Tour.

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