Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) made it home safely on today’s final stage of the Tour de France from Houilles to Paris Champs-Élysées to become the first Welsh winner of the race. Tom DuMoulin (Team Sunweb) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) rounded out the podium as European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) won the final stage on the Champs-Elysées.
145 riders started stage 21 in Houilles and in the opening kilometres covered at a slow pace, Team Sky celebrated their sixth overall victory in seven years. As the race entered Paris throughout the Avenue Montaigne, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) did a lap of honour as this was his 18th and last Tour de France.
Silvan Dillier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Taylor Phinney (EF), Michael Schär (BMC), Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) then rode away from the pack with 52 kilometres to go.
Groupama-FDJ and Bora-Hansgrohe were the most active teams in the chase. The deficit of the peloton was 40″ with 20 kilometres to go. It was game over for the breakaway riders 6 kilometres before the end as Politt was the last man to surrender at bell lap.
Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) rode away from the peloton 2.5 kilometres before the line to force the other sprinters’ teams to spend some energy before the last rush. Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) countered but Belgian champion Yves Lampaert (Quick Step) was the last man to try and stay away from the pack.
Lampaert was eventually swallowed with 250 metres to go, firstly by Trek-Segafredo working for stage 9 winner John Degenkolb but Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was the fastest of the remaining sprinters while stage 18 winner Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) rounded out the stage podium.
Geraint Thomas meanwhile could raise his hands up in the air too as he crossed the line to win the 105th Tour de France.
After thanking his teammates on the podium, Thomas said: “I got into cycling because of this race. I remember running home from school to watch the Tour de France and the dream was always just to be a part of it. That came through 11 years ago back in 2007. Now I’m here, stood in the yellow jersey. It’s incredible and it’s a dream come true.
“To everyone back home, kids and the Maindy Flyers, just dream big. If people tell you it can’t be done, if you believe in yourself and work hard just keep going. You’re going to have knocks and downs. But keep believing, anything is possible and with hard work everything pays off in the end. Thanks for all the support!”