Hautacam, France (4E Sports) – Italian Vincenzo Nibali fortified his overall lead at the Tour de France after winning Stage 18 Thursday.
Nibali finished the 145.5-kilometer ride from Pau to Hautacam in four hours, four minutes and 17 seconds to claim his fourth stage win of this year’s Tour.
“It’s fantastic to have won four stages. I didn’t believe I’d do that,” Nibali said. “There aren’t many stages till the finish now and my lead is consolidated. I’m pretty serene. I’ve wanted to leave a footprint in the Pyrenees.”
Nibali bested France’s Thibaut Pinot by 70 seconds while and Stage 17 winner Rafal Majka by 72 seconds.
With the win, Nibali, who began the day with a five-minute, 26-second lead, now leads the cycling event by 7:10 over Pinot.
Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud moved into third place in the overall classification, 7:23 behind Nibali. Alejandro Valverde is another two seconds off the yellow jersey’s pace after a 10th-place finish.
The riders will tackle a 208.5-kilometer ride from Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac in Friday’s Stage 19.