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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 August 2018

Geraint Thomas targeting more success after Tour de France victory

Team Sky rider pays tribute to teammate Chris Froome after triumphing in Paris

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has his eye on more success. AP Photo
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has his eye on more success. AP Photo

Geraint Thomas has his eye on further Grand Tour success after sealing victory in the Tour de France.

Thomas crossed the line in Paris on Sunday night to seal victory by one minute and 51 seconds from Tom Dumoulin, with his Sky teammate Chris Froome third.

Thomas became the third Briton to win the Tour following Bradley Wiggins and Froome, with the trio having won six of the last seven editions between them, all in Sky colours.

The 32-year-old said winning cycling's biggest road race was a better feeling than his two Olympic gold medals in the team pursuit - and now he wants more.

"I've certainly got the taste for it," he said. "This year I've really enjoyed racing for stages and being aggressive. Racing on instinct almost."

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Where his next race might come remains to be seen. Thomas was originally pencilled in to ride La Vuelta in September, but that seems less likely following events here.

Any decisions about next season - when Sky may find themselves picking between Froome's ambitions for a record-equalling fifth Tour crown and Thomas' status as defending champion - are for the future.

"I haven't thought about that yet," Thomas said. "At the moment I just want to enjoy this."

Standing on the podium in Paris, Thomas was quick to thank Froome, who rode in support of the Welshman once he realised his own ambitions of a record-equalling fifth Tour title were beyond him.

Tales of acrimonious leadership battles in cycling are legion - not least involving Wiggins and Froome - but Thomas never seemed to have an issue with the four-time Tour winner.

"Big respect to Froomey," he said in his victory speech on the Champs-Elysees. "It could have got awkward, there could have been tensions, but mate you were a great champion."

The pair had crossed the line arm-in-arm at the end of the 116km final stage from Houilles, during which Thomas enjoyed all the traditions of the last day of the Tour with teammates and posed for pictures.

Thomas, 32, is a two-time Olympic champion on the track, but as he stood on the podium on the Champs-Elysees he recalled memories of watching the Tour as a youngster.

"I got into cycling because of this race," he said. "I remember running home from school to be a part of it, and now I am here stood in the yellow jersey. It's insane."

Thomas has worn the yellow jersey since victory in La Rosiere on stage 11 and effectively wrapped up the win on Saturday's time trial, but was still trying to take it all in.

"Maybe when I'm like 70 it will sink in," he said. "It's incredible, the stuff of dreams."

Though he had led Froome by more than a minute and a half after his victory on stage 12 to Alpe d'Huez, Thomas revealed he was only fully handed the leadership of the team after the four-time winner faltered on stage 17 to fall even further back just days before Paris.

"The real defining moment was when he had his bad day (on stage 17), but at the same time I was always allowed my own freedom," he said.

"It wasn't like I had to work for him as a domestique. Obviously the guys were riding for Froomey and I just stayed with them. I was the back-up leader and if I was good, I was good and I would stay in front."

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