Britain's Thomas wins maiden Tour de France

Britain's Thomas wins maiden Tour de France

Britain's Thomas wins maiden Tour de France

It will be a sixth British and Team Sky victory in seven years in the three-week race and Thomas will be the first Welshman to win one of cycling's three Grand Tours.

He finished with an advantage of almost two minutes over his nearest rival, Tom Dumoulin, in a performance built on constant pressure, taking small chunks of time out of the Dutchman on seven separate stages, resisting a flurry of attacks in the mountains before retaliating with assaults of his own.

Roglic took victory on stage 19 to Laruns by 19 seconds, enough to propel the Slovenian above Froome into third place overall going into Saturday's decisive time trial.

Thomas, 32, was able to enjoy the procession into Paris with tradition dictating that the Yellow Jersey not be attacked on the final stage.

Before Alexander Kristoff took victory in the final sprint on the Champs-Elysees, Thomas lined up with his Sky team-mates and posed for pictures while carrying the Welsh flag on the 116km stage from Houilles.

"I'm really trying not to cry, it's unbelievable". Normally it's a really hard stage but I seemed to float around today. "It's easy to get wrapped up in or get angry or depressed but I stay in my own world". He earned 33 bonus seconds compared to Dumoulin's 12 and Froome's four, a mark of his opportunism, and earned two spectacular stage wins in the Alps.

Thomas' Tour victory provides huge cause for British cycling to celebrate, with him being a rider who has risen through their system in a career that has reaped success on both the track and road.

"It's insane. I just don't know what to think".

Froome's failure to beat Thomas also showed how hard it is to complete a Giro-Tour double, with Marco Pantani being the last man to achieve the feat in 1998 during the doping-tainted era. "I don't know what's happening to me".

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Dumoulin, who rides for the Sunweb team, finished his campaign on a high after winning the penultimate stage time trial.

The short, steep climb of the Mur-de-Bretagne was the first real test of form for the general classification riders, and Thomas did not falter as he finished ninth, picking up five seconds on Froome who lost the wheels at the end, and 50 seconds on Dumoulin who faded badly on the climb.

Geraint Thomas has effectively won the Tour de France after finishing within two minutes of his closest competitor, Tom Dumoulin, in Saturday's individual time trial.

"I don't think so, " he said.

He was second after stage nine and took hold of the race leader's yellow jersey on stage 11.

"I can't believe it", he said.

Thomas and Froome focused on bike racing over the past three weeks, making no mistakes and being well protected by the strongest team in the field.

The significance of Chris Froome's short excursion in to a field less than six kilometres from the finish of the opening stage was not immediately apparent - and certainly did nothing to change Team Sky's insistence that he remained the team leader.

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