Glasses raised to Italian after Le Tour victory

VINCENZO Nibali's victory in the Tour de France promises to return cycling to its former popularity in Italy for the first time since the legendary Marco Pantani won the great race in 1998.

The 29-year-old performed the winner's tradition of sipping champagne (pictured) as he rode into Paris yesterday to claim a "grand tour slam".

He won the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and the Giro d'Italia in 2013.

The Astana rider, who took the lead after stage two in England, extended his advantage in all three mountain ranges.

French riders filled the placings, with Jean-Christophe Peraud finishing second and Thibaut Pinot, who took out the young rider category, coming in third. Slovakia's Peter Sagan easily won the sprinter's green jersey for the third consecutive year, while Poland's Rafal Majka edged out Nibali to claim the polka dot jersey for the King of the Mountains.