News: Geraint Thomas wins Paris-Nice


Welshman Geraint Thomas has his biggest victory to date with overall triumph in Paris-Nice after an action packed finale

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News: Geraint Thomas wins Paris-Nice

Geraint Thomas won Paris-Nice in nail-biting style, fending off a barrage of late attacks on the final stage.


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 however when Contador (Tinkoff) kicked again, this time 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.”
Day of drama



The racing had been full gas from the off with 25 riders quickly escaping up the road. All eight Team Sky riders hit the front to keep them in check as they traversed the six categorised climbs, and one by one they were eventually brought back into the fold.

Contador initially set the alarm bells ringing when he forged ahead 55km from home, bridging over to two team-mates on the Cote de Peille, but Roche, Swift and Boswell chased them down before Henao paced Thomas over the Col d’Eze.

The Welshman had briefly looked on the ropes but showed unbelievable tenacity to reduce the gap and push on to claim the 10th race win of his professional career.

When we spoke to him after the press conference, he was still struggling to take in what he’d just achieved.

He told “I knew I had to keep fighting and I never gave up. Having Sergio there with me at the end really helped, and I owe Tony Gallopin a few beers as well!

“That descent was like a load of back-to-back team pursuits, and as the gap gradually came down I knew I had a chance. I went full gas all the way to the line and ended up taking the win.

“I can’t thank my team-mates enough. They’ve been 100% committed to me all week so to finish the job off for them is an amazing feeling. I’m in dreamland at the moment and it’ll take a while to sink in. I used to run home from school to watch Paris-Nice, so to win it is just crazy.

“This confirms I can be up there with the best stage racers in the world and I’ll definitely celebrate tonight. You don’t win very often, so when you do, you have to enjoy it.

“Next up I’ve got Milan-San Remo, the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of Flanders before a training camping in Tenerife. I’ll then ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour de Romandie. It’s a big block and to win this is a great way to start it and take the pressure off a bit.”

Stage Result
1. Tim Wellens, Lotto Soudal
2. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff
3. Richie Porte, BMC
4. Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal
5. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge

11. Geraint Thomas, Sky

1. Geraint Thomas, Sky
2. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff
3. Richie Porte, BMC

7. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge
34. Ben Swift, Sky
60. Ian Stannard, Sky
92. Luke Rowe, Sky

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