Geraint Thomas wins Tour de France

Tour de France

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Geraint Thomas is set to be crowned the third British victor of the Tour de France in seven years as he produced another superb performance during the penultimate stage today.

Defending champion Chris Froome is also out of contention for the overall victory but leapfrogged Slovenian Primož Roglič, the victor of yesterday's final mountain stage, into third on the general classification standings after he crossed the line today in second.

Norway's Alexander Kristoff won the 21st and final stage of the Tour but that was not enough to take the top spot from Thomas, who finished with a near-two minute lead.

For the rest of the field, there was still the issue of a prestigious final stage to win - and the contest was more open than ever with the winners of the last nine Champs-Elysees sprints (Mark Cavendish (four), Marcel Kittel and André Greipel (two each), and Dylan Groenewegen) all having dropped out.

In a race that saw several contenders lose time to mishaps, Thomas stayed out of trouble and was able to stamp his authority on the race more and more as it went on, while Froome had been put on the back foot from the opening stage when a late excursion into a field cost him 51 seconds.

A key helper in many of Froome's previous six Tour wins, there was a general feeling on this race - backed by a superb win in the Criterium du Dauphine stage race and fears that Froome's Giro d'Italia-winning efforts would soon tell - that it might be time for payback.

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"It makes me really proud and I'm glad to be a part of that".

Thomas said: "I got into cycling because of this race".

Thomas, who now has another major honour to accompany his pair of Olympic gold medals on his mantlepiece, won the eleventh and twelfth stages in the Alps while continually picking up advantages elsewhere to accumulate a final time of 83 hours, 17 minutes and 13 seconds.

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

"I've had a good run; three Grand Tour victories from the last three".

Thomas follows Wiggins and Froome into the record books. "The last time I cried is when I got married".

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He'll also be the first rider from Wales to win the race.

A former ski jumper who rides for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Roglic finished 19 seconds ahead of Thomas, while Romain Bardet of France crossed third with the same time.

"I think we'll have some beers, and burgers tonight, but that's it".

Speaking of Saturday's stage, he said: "I felt good, I felt strong, I felt really good actually".

But with his clothing sponsor based just across the Spanish border in San Sebastian, an emergency call was placed and they whipped him up a new set of the world champion's rainbow stripes in time. According to Ellingworth, that victory ahead of two-time Tour de France victor Alberto Contador was a turning point.

Thomas and the peloton will complete the arduous, three-week race with a 72-mile ride that ends on the Champs Élysées.

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