Thomas wins prestigious Paris-Nice race

Geraint Thomas (yellow jersey) with Team Sky team-mates at the head of the Peloton during stage seven

Geraint Thomas (yellow jersey) with Team Sky team-mates at the head of the peloton during stage seven

Geraint Thomas has become the third British rider to win the prestigious week-long Paris-Nice stage race – holding on to win by four seconds.

The Welshman held a 15-second lead over two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador heading into the final stage.

Contador attacked on the final climb of the race and Team Sky’s Thomas cracked 1km from the summit but he made up 30 seconds on the descent to take the win.

Thomas joins Tom Simpson and Bradley Wiggins as British winners of the race.

Simpson was the first in 1967, while Wiggins, who was also riding for Team Sky, won in 2012 – the year he went on to win the Tour de France.

Thomas, who won the Volta ao Algarve stage race earlier in the year, said: “It’s the biggest win for sure of my whole career.”

It was an incredible finish to an enthralling “Race to the Sun”, which had seen stage three cancelled because of heavy snow.

Tim Wellens of Belgium won the final stage on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice with Contador crossing the line second to pick up six bonus seconds.

However, 29-year-old Thomas, who was superbly helped by team-mate Sergio Henao in the final kilometre of the ascent of Col d’Eze, finished in a group just five seconds adrift of Contador to ensure he won.

“I felt good, I felt strong, in control [when Contador first attacked],” said Thomas.

“But when he went halfway up Col d’Eze, my legs went away. I thought it’s going to be all over, but Sergio stayed with me.

“I had a 54 chain ring on in the descent and I needed that – I went just full gas to finally catch up in the last few kilometres.”

It is a fourth win in five years for Team Sky after Wiggins’ 2012 victory and Richie Porte’s successes in 2013 and 2015.

Australian Porte, who now rides for BMC Racing, finished third on the final stage to take third overall.

Final classification:

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 27hrs 26mins 40secs

2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) +4secs

3. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing) +12secs

4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus/Katusha) +20secs

5. Jon Izagirre (Spa/Movistar) +37secs

6. Sergio Henao (Col/Team Sky) +44secs

7. Simon Yates (GB/Orica GreenEdge) +44secs

8. Tony Gallopin (Fra/Lotto) +51secs

9. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +1min 00secs

10. Rui Costa (Por/Lampre) +1min 07secs

Stage seven result:

1. Tim Wellens (Bel/Lotto) 3hrs 16mins 09secs

2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) Same time

3. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing)

4. Tony Gallopin (Fra/Lotto) +5secs

5. Simon Yates (GB/Orica GreenEdge) Same time

6. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra/Cofidis)

7. Rui Costa (Por/Lampre)

8. Jesus Herrada (Spa/Movistar)

9. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R)

10. Jon Izagirre (Spa/Movistar)

Selected:

11. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) Same time

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/35797936

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