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Vincenzo Nibali of Italy wins 101st Tour de France, first Italian winner since Pantani in 1998

  • Cycling Tour de France-1.jpg

    Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, second right, Peter Sagan of Slovakia, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, right. Rafal Majka of Poland, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, left and Thibaut Pinot of France, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, cycle at the front of the field at the start of the twenty-first and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 137.5 kilometers (85.4 miles) with start in Evry and finish in Paris, France, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

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    Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, left, chats with Peter Sagan of Slovakia, wearing the best sprinter's green jersey, right. as they cycle at the front of the field at the start of the twenty-first and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 137.5 kilometers (85.4 miles) with start in Evry and finish in Paris, France, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (The Associated Press)

  • 2045cd254d38161d5b0f6a7067002506.jpg

    Team Astana with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates with a glass of champagne during the twenty-first and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 137.5 kilometers (85.4 miles) with start in Evry and finish in Paris, France, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Jean-Paul Pelissier, Pool) (The Associated Press)

  • Cycling Tour de France-4.jpg

    Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and France's Thibaut Pinot, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, wait for the start of the twenty-first and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 137.5 kilometers (85.4 miles) with start in Evry and finish in Paris, France, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (The Associated Press)

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali has won the Tour de France, becoming the first Italian to win cycling's greatest race in 16 years by chiselling a lead over his main rivals a few seconds at a time and dominating them in the mountains.

The 29-year-old Sicilian, who called himself "a flag-bearer of anti-doping" during the race, finished in the main pack behind Marcel Kittel, who won Sunday's Stage 21 in a sprint finish.

Nibali's victory comes after the pre-race favorites — 2013 champion Chris Froome and two-time winner Alberto Contador — crashed out with injuries in the first half of the race.

Nibali is only the sixth rider to win all three Grand Tours — France, Italy and Spain — and is the first Italian to win the Tour de France since Marco Pantani in 1998.