Vincenzo Nibali emerged Sunday as the first Italian winner of the Tour de France in 16 years after a race defined by inclement weather and painful eliminations of other favorites.
To some extent, Nibali benefited from the misfortunes of others. Chris Froome of Britain, the defending champion, quit early in the three-week race after three crashes amid miserable rain and cold that made the Tour sometimes seem as if were being run in the early spring. Then the Spaniard Alberto Contador, who has won the Tour three times but was stripped of his 2010 title over doping, hit a hole in the pavement and broke his leg, again on a damp and chilly day.
But Nibali, 29, who rides for Astana, did not cruise to a win by default. He won four stages of the Tour, including one in each of the three mountain ranges the Tour traversed this year: the Vosges, the Alps and the Pyrenees. All of the wins were decisive.
Nibali also wore the yellow jersey as the race leader for 19 of the 21 stages.