The Tour de France 2014, as most of you will know, was won by the Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali. One of only eight Italians ever to have won this prestigious race and the first since the late Marco Pantani rode into Paris in 1998; Nibali is also one of only six cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours during their careers, the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.
Cycling is a sport which is practiced mainly in the northern regions of Italy, particularly the picturesque region of Tuscany. This has always left the Sicilian Vincenzo as something of an outsider. At the age of six, Vincenzo moved to the small Tuscan village of Mastromarco, set between Lucca and the historic city of Florence. It was here that for ten months of the year Nibali was able to hone his craft by taking advantage of the rolling hills, sweeping roads and steep mountain climbs of the stunning Tuscan landscape; a landscape which was empirical to his personal development and made him into the cyclist he is today.
In 2005 Vincenzo turned professional, joining the Italian team 'Liquigas'; now 'Cannondale'; training mostly in Tuscany. He has since moved on to join the 'Astana Pro Team' and it was, of course, with this team that he won this year's 'Tour de France'.
The 101st edition of the Tour ended in Paris after 2,277 miles and 21 stages, with nine flat stages, five hilly stages, six mountain stages with five altitude finishes and one individual time trial. Nibali’s Tuscan background in no doubt enabled him to excel in a race with such a variety in landscape and changeable climates. Much the same as in the 2013 'Giro d'italia'; as the competition swept through Tuscany, Nibali had the distinct advantage of racing on his home turf, cycling the roads on which he perfected his sport and refined himself as a champion cyclist.
Make sure that you keep up to date by checking out our regular posts, we are always on the lookout to discover new and wonderful routes through the great cycling region that is Tuscany.