Cycling

Geraint Thomas wins Paris-Nice

Geraint Thomas (File)
Geraint Thomas (File)

Nice - Briton Geraint Thomas claimed his maiden Paris-Nice on Sunday after the seventh and final stage won by Belgium's Tim Wellens.

Thomas, who only took the race leader's yellow jersey off Australian Michael Matthews on Saturday's stage, finished four seconds ahead of two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador of Spain.

It was one of the closest finishes in the history of the event known as the 'Race to the Sun'.

The 29-year-old Welshman's victory was Team Sky's fourth in five editions of the Paris-Nice.

Wellens took the final day honours after fending off breakaway partners Contador and Australian Richie Porte in a sprint for the line.

Thomas crossed in the chasing pack five seconds adrift.

Contador, 15sec behind at the start of the 134 kilometre ride, launched a number of attacks, the first coming 50km from the end.

The Spaniard made a decisive move on the Col d'Eze, 17km out.

Pursued by Thomas he appeared to have done enough to make up his deficit on the Welshman who was struggling up the climb.

But Thomas, helped by his Colombian teammate Sergio Henso, made up ground in the entrance to the Cote d'Azur city of Nice to hold on to the yellow jersey.

He becomes the third Briton to win the event after Tom Simpson in 1967 and Bradley Wiggins in 2012.

The winning margin was the second tightest only shaded by the three seconds Davide Rebellin had up his sleeve over his fellow Italian Rinaldo Nocentini in 2008.

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