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Kittel returns to the throne

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Once again Giant-Shimano's Marcel Kittel takes the un-official sprinters championships on the Champs Élysées and bookends a successful Tour de France with wins on the opening and closing stages. Behind him Vincenzo Nibali finishes safely to win his first Tour and become the sixth man ever to win all three Grand Tours.

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KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

Marcel Kittel has been looking like a man who hasn't enjoyed the last week of this Tour very much. But he certainly feels better about sticking it out today after overcoming Alexander Kristoff in the last 50 meters to win his second Champs Élysées stage in a row. His Giant-Shimano team did a perfect job of setting up their supersprinter near the end it looked as if Katusha's Kristoff had timed his charge just right to take his third stage. He held the lead and looked to be maintaining his superior speed but behind Kittel wound up one last sprint at full power from his tired legs to take a solid if not as dominant win as last year. Sometimes though winning when you are not on top is even more impressive. Once again non-sprinter RamunasNavardauskas snuck in a surprise result taking third place

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KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

Despite a slight scare as French hero JC Peraud crashed early on the finishing circuits there where no changes in the top 10. Vincenzo Nibali once again put Italy on top of the cycling world by winning it's most prestigious race. He has now won the Vuelta, the Giro and the Tour de France, a feat only accomplished by Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Contador and his countryman Felice Gimondi before him. The Shark of Messina thereby enters the pantheon of the true greats.

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TOP 10 Stage 21:
1. GERKITTEL Marcel 101 TEAM GIANT-SHIMANO 03h 20' 50''
2. NORKRISTOFF Alexander 23 TEAM KATUSHA 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
3. LTUNAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas 97 GARMIN - SHARP 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
4. GERGREIPEL André 135 LOTTO-BELISOL 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
5. AUSRENSHAW Mark 77 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
6. AUTEISEL Bernhard 2 TEAM SKY 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
7. FRACOQUARD Bryan 153 TEAM EUROPCAR 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
8. ITAPETACCHI Alessandro 76 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
9. SVKSAGAN Peter 51 CANNONDALE 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''
10. FRAFEILLU Romain 214 BRETAGNE - SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT 03h 20' 50'' + 00' 00''

FINAL TOP 10 :
1. ITANIBALI Vincenzo 41 ASTANA PRO TEAM 89h 59' 06''
2. FRAPÉRAUD Jean-Christophe 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 90h 06' 43'' + 07' 37''
3. FRAPINOT Thibaut 127 FDJ.FR 90h 07' 21'' + 08' 15''
4. ESPVALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro 11 MOVISTAR TEAM 90h 08' 46'' + 09' 40''
5. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 141 BMC RACING TEAM 90h 10' 30'' + 11' 24''
6. FRABARDET Romain 82 AG2R LA MONDIALE 90h 10' 32'' + 11' 26''
7. CZEKONIG Leopold 201 TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA 90h 13' 38'' + 14' 32''
8. ESPZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar 169 TREK FACTORY RACING 90h 17' 03'' + 17' 57''
9. NEDTEN DAM Laurens 67 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 90h 17' 17'' + 18' 11''
10. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 61 BELKIN PRO CYCLING 90h 20' 21'' + 21' 15''

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