PARIS: Geraint Thomas extended British cycling’s dominance of the Tour de France with victory in the French capital.
The Welshman had all but secured a remarkable success when coming through Saturday’s time trial unscathed before enjoying Sunday’s procession into Paris, flanked by the rest of Team Sky.
Alexander Kristoff won the final sprint on the Champs-Elysees but it was Thomas who was able to sip champagne and toast what was a remarkable performance.
Thomas had worn the yellow jersey since winning stage 11 to La Rosiere 10 days ago, but had never let himself dream of winning the Tour until he crossed the line in Espelette after the penultimate stage, where he was greeted by his wife Sara.
He said: “It was emotional. I didn’t know my wife was here either which kind of made it worse. It was just about doing all the small things right. That wall came falling down. I was welling up every time I hugged anyone or talked about it for about 20 minutes there.”
Thomas did not go to France as a strong favourite or even as the leader in his own team, but has ridden smartly for three weeks to stay out of trouble while delivering two memorable mountain wins.
He follows Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome as a British winner, with the trio winning six of the last seven Tours, all in Team Sky colours.
Initially Froome had been expected to carry the flag again for Sky. The 33-year-old had wanted a record-equalling fifth Tour title and a rare Giro-Tour double.