Geraint Thomas wins Paris-Nice

Geraint Thomas wins Paris-Nice

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Geraint Thomas won Paris-Nice in nail-biting style, fending off a barrage of late attacks on the final stage to claim Team Sky's fourth title in five years.

Thomas was put on the defensive when Alberto Contador first jumped clear on the penultimate climb, with Nicolas Roche, Ben Swift and Ian Boswell doing a fantastic job to bring him back before they hit the Col d'Eze.

No sooner had parity been restored when Contador (Tinkoff) kicked again, taking Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) with him.

That trio had a 25-second lead as they crested the summit of the final categorised ascent, with Sergio Henao doing a heroic job to keep the gap at a manageable distance as Thomas dug deep to defend his jersey.

The Team Sky duo joined forces with Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) on the descent which followed, and they rode like Trojans to reduce the deficit before the fast finish along the Promenade des Anglais.

Wellens outsprinted Contador and Porte to take the stage victory, with Thomas crossing the line just five seconds behind to seal the biggest triumph of his road career by four seconds.

After the stage a jubilant and relieved Thomas told reporters: "When Alberto went on the Cote de Peille I stuck with my team and felt good, strong and in control, but when he went again half way up the Col d'Eze my legs just gave way. It was horrible and I thought 'this is going to be all over'.

"I got dropped from the chase group and thought I was going to struggle to even get on the podium. Thankfully Sergio stayed with me.

"I had a 54 chainring on for the descent in case I had to chase and I certainly needed that at the end. It was full gas, and to finally latch back on in the last few kilometres was really good.

"It's incredible to have won Paris-Nice and hard to believe, to be honest. Contador is one of the best stage racers ever and Richie won nearly every race he did last year, so to beat those two - I can't really believe it.

"I came here trying to win and do the best I could, but to actually do it is amazing. It's the biggest win of my career, for sure, and I'm over the moon."