Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali dedicates stage two victory to 'amazing' British supporters
By Matt Westby in Sheffield
Last Updated: 06/07/14 7:27pm
Vincenzo Nibali dedicated claiming the Tour de France yellow jersey for the first time in his career to the people of Great Britain after being overwhelmed by their support during the race's Grand Depart.
The Italian rider moved to the top of the general classification by escaping to a solo victory on a compelling second stage into Sheffield.
The riders were once again cheered on by more than a million fans in Yorkshire, with hordes of people cramming into the start and finish areas and tens of thousands more congregating on each of the day's nine climbs.
Nibali, who has now worn the race leader’s jersey at all three Grand Tours, was full of praise for the turnout.
He said: “I dedicate this jersey to the public of England because they have been so amazing and gave us great support. The support was incredible.
“I have been blessed because I am one of the riders who could wear the leader’s jersey from the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and Tour de France and very few people can say they have won all three jerseys.”
Nibali secured victory in Sheffield with an attack 1.9km from the finish line and has now won twice in nine days after triumphing at last weekend’s Italian national road race.
It is a welcome return to form following a poor first half of the season in which he has been repeatedly beaten by his main rivals at the Tour, defending champion Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.
Nibali added: "This is wonderful victory. It pays off for all the sacrifices. The beginning of the season has been a difficult one for me, but I have trained hard with my team-mates for the Tour de France and my confidence is now boosted by the two victories.
“I don't want to lose my head. The Tour is a very hard race. I'm superstitious so I don't want to say that I will win the overall. For sure, the Tour de France doesn't finish here."