Geraint Thomas: 'Surreal' Paris-Nice win makes him a target

Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas won the 2014 Commonwealth Games road race title

Geraint Thomas accepts he will be a marked man following his win in the prestigious week-long Paris-Nice stage race.

Team Sky's Thomas, 29, joins the late Tommy Simpson and Sir Bradley Wiggins as British winners of the race.

The Welshman, who also won the Volta ao Algarve stage race earlier in the year, knows he will no longer be given any leeway by other teams.

"That's part of being successful I guess and dealing with that," he said.

Sir Bradley Wiggins leads the pack in the 2015 Paris-Nice race
Sir Bradley Wiggins leads the pack in the 2015 Paris-Nice race

"I'm perfectly happy with that and I'd rather that than people think 'he's useless, just let him go.'

"People know me more and it's not just 'he's a strong rider that might get a win'. Now if I do attacking in some of the big races people are going to watch me, I guess."

Thomas became the first British rider to win the formidable E3 Harelbeke race in Belgium in March 2015 and put in a strong display at last year's Tour de France to help Chris Froome win his second title.

In the Paris-Nice race Thomas held a 15-second lead over two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador heading into the final stage.

Contador attacked on the final climb of the race and Team Sky's Thomas cracked 1km from the summit, but he made up 30 seconds on the descent to take the win, with Australian Richie Porte, who rides for BMC Racing, third overall.

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"Contador is probably one of the greatest stage race riders ever," Thomas told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales.

"I think he's won about seven Grand Tours - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana - he's won them all multiple times.

"To go head to head against him and come out on top is just an amazing feeling.

"Richie Porte, who was a team-mate last year, he was unbeatable in week races last year. He was the best in the world by far.

"To have those two guys either side of me on a podium is nuts and it's still so surreal."

Thomas competes in the Milan-San Remo one-day race on Saturday before the week-long Volta a Catalunya in Spain.

April's schedule includes classics such as the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.


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