Thomas fulfils childhood dream by winning the Tour de France

Britain's Geraint Thomas fulfilled his childhood dream by winning the Tour de France on Sunday while the final stage was won by Norway's Alexander Kristoff

Thomas finished the race in Paris nearly two minutes ahead of Dutch rival Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) to secure his first yellow jersey, with teammate and four-time and defending champion Chris Froome finishing third.

"It's still not sinking in, it's incredible," said Thomas, looking gaunt and tired after three weeks of "suffering".

The 32-year-old Welshman, the third Briton to win the race after Froome and Bradley Wiggins, secured Team Sky's sixth victory in the race from the past seven editions.

"Big respect to Froomey," he said "It could have been awkward, there could have been tension... he's a great champion and I've always had respect for you."

"The dream was always to participate, and that dream came true 11 years ago. Now, up here, being in the yellow jersey in front of all of you, the crowd, is just... wow."

Thomas, known for having a beer while watching his favourite sport of rugby, was quick to grab a Welsh flag before he jumped on to the top step of the podium before listening to a rendition of God Save the Queen - the British national anthem.

"I started cycling because of this race. I remember running home from school to watch it," said Thomas, who paid a heartfelt tribute to his wife Sara, who was emotional as she stood on the sidelines.

"The amount of support I've got... ah, my wife. Big thanks to Sara. She's been with me through thick and thin."

Thomas fulfils childhood dream by winning the Tour de France

Thomas, who won back-to-back stages in the Alps before sealing victory with a third-place finish in the penultimate stage time trial on Saturday, took a 1:51 lead over Dumoulin into the 21st stage from Houilles to the French capital.

The final stage was a festive affair, Thomas was seen celebrating with fellow Sky team-mates early in the stage as he soaked up becoming the first Welsh yellow jersey winner.

The race didn't start until it hit the Champs Elysees. A six-man breakaway was reeled in the sprinters' teams upped the pace to chase down a last-ditch attempt by Belgian champion Yves Lampaert, of Quick Step.

Lampaert was caught with only 220 metres to go, and UAE team sprinter Kristoff came off the wheel in front of him to power to the line ahead of Germany's John Degenkolb and Frenchman Arnaud Demare.

"It's a dream come true," said Kristoff. "I've dreamt about this victory for many years."

Thomas rolled over the line seconds later, smiling and joking with teammate, training partner and close friend Froome.

Slovakian sprint king Peter Sagan failed to get in contention for the final sprint days after suffering injuries in a spectacular crash in the Pyrenees.But the Bora rider consoled himself with three stage wins as well as winning his sixth green jersey for the points competition, equalling the record of Germany's Erik Zabel.

"I'm very happy, I suffered a lot in the last three days, but I'm very proud to take my sixth green jersey," said Sagan.

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe had already secured the polka dot jersey for the King of the Mountains competition, a prize which came with two impressive stage wins, in the Alps then the Pyrenees.

"We're on the most beautiful avenue in the world, I've got this jersey and two stage wins," said Alaphilippe, "The race is over, but it's not sinking in."

France saw yellow jersey hope and former two-time podium finisher Romain Bardet, of AG2R, disappointed with a sixth place finish at nearly seven minutes behind.

But his team-mate Pierre Latour boosted their campaign by winning the white jersey for the best-placed rider aged under 25.

VIDEO: 2018 Tour de France Stage Flash Summary

2018 Tour de France Stage 21 Top 10

1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 2:46:36 
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo   
3 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ   
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data   
5 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits   
6 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors   
7 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida   
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe   
9 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert   
10 Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal

2018 Tour de France Final General Classification

1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 83:17:13 
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:51 
3 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:24 
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:03:22 
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:06:08 
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:57 
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:07:37 
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:09:05 
9 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:12:37 
10 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:14:18

 
Tag: tourdefrance
 
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