Vincenzo Nibali became only the sixth rider to win all three Grand Tours today after safely negotiating a final stage of the Tour de France won, as expected, by German sprinter Marcel Kittel.
In the traditional mass finish on the Champs-Élysées, Kittel, the Giant-Shimano rider who has dominated such sprints over the past two years, pushed Norway's Alexander Kristoff and Lithuanian Ramūnas Navardauskas into second and third.
It was Kittel's second successive victory on the final stage of the Tour and ensured that he repeated the tally of four individual stage wins that he managed last year.
But while he provided greater glitter to an already illustrious career, the real story involved Nibali, who won by seven minutes, 52 seconds for the biggest winning margin since Jan Ullrich won by more than nine minutes in 1997.
After effectively sealing his win in yesterday's time trial, most of the 137.5-kilometre romp from Évry to Paris was spent in celebratory fashion as the 29-year-old collected champagne flutes from his Astana team car to distribute among his team mates before posing for photographs with race officials.
He was then almost as comfortable as the pace quickened, as he safely crossed the line along with French rivals Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot, who finished in second and third place overall respectively.
Nibali, whose previous best at the Tour de France was third place behind Team Sky duo Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in 2012, now adds his maiden triumph to wins in the 2010 Vuelta a España and the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
Although this year's race resembled something of a damp squib following the injury-induced withdrawal of last year's winner Froome and Alberto Contador, it is likely that Nibali's climbing form would have been too strong nonetheless.
Rafał Majka, the Polish rider who was the only entrant who could come close to matching Nibali in the mountains, was awarded the polka-dot jersey for being the best climber, while Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the green sprinters jersey for the third year in a row
Third place Pinot was also awarded the white jersey by virtue of being the best rider under the age of 25.
It is the first time that a home rider has finished in the top three since 1997, when Richard Virenque placed second, and the first time since Laurent Fignon beat Bernard Hinault to the 1984 title that two Frenchman finished on the same podium.
"For me it's the contrary - I had the yellow jersey on my back after two days.
"After winning the Vuelta, the Giro and the Tour, I'll keep focusing on Grand Tours but I'd also like to crown it all with a world champion's rainbow jersey one year."
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