Geraint Thomas has beaten Alberto Contador twice in stage racing this season and the Welshman believes his Paris-Nice win shows he can compete with the best in the world

Geraint Thomas says his win at Paris-Nice  proves he can compete with the best stage racers in the world, having held off a strong challenge from Alberto Contador in Nice on Sunday.

The Team Sky rider trailed Contador on the road by 30 seconds at one point in the final 20km as the Spaniard attacked on the climb of the Col d’Eze. Such an advantage would have given Contador the overall win, but Thomas fought back with Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) on the descent to bring back the Spaniard to within five seconds to take the win.

“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!,” he told the Team Sky website.

“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.”

The win is Thomas’s fifth in stage racing and first at WorldTour level, having taken victories at Bayern Rundfahrt (2011 & 2014) and the Volta ao Algarve (2015 & 2016). From here, Thomas will race Milan-San Remo on March 19 before starting the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of Flanders.

  • Simon Patchett

    Sergio Henao was stronger than Thomas, It was evident throughout the race and he deserves massive praise for sticking to “the plan” when he clearly had the legs to win himself. Hopefully he’ll get his chance later this season, perhaps at the tour of the basque!

  • Liz Miller

    I would have thought Gallopin was going for his GC position, considering who was in the group ahead, and not trying to catch his team-mate.

  • Chumply Chummunderson

    Gallopin was going for best placed French rider. Apparently it’s a thing.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    I think Gallopin just wanted to catch the chase group and protect his overall position in the top 10. In helping the chase, Contador and Porte had to give it everything while Wellens soft-pedalled his turns and saved some energy for the win. Once they caught the chase group, Gallopin sat on. That’s my theory.

  • blemcooper

    I was wondering the same about Gallopin working with Sky, against his own teammate up the road. Is that a French vs Belgium thing going on there? 🙂

  • wenchiana

    *…one arm…

  • wenchiana

    Cancellation of the stage 3 affected the results of the GC a bit but Thomas really won the race today in the final descent. Contador already had on arm in the jersey after he dropped the group but then Thomas fought back. I don’t exactly understand Gallopin’s motive to help Geraint Thomas thought. Chasing threatened Wellens’ chance to win the stage and Gallopin had top 10 GC finish in the bag for the team.
    As much as I hate yellow jerseys in Sky colours, thank you Thomas and Contador for making the finish of the race exciting!

  • david watts

    It’s now time for G to win a Grand Tour. Keep focused on your bigger goals. I am a big fan well done

  • David Kerry

    Well done geraint Thomas .. I bet tinkov is well ****** that contador never won!!