CHEERS: Britain’s Geraint Thomas (left) and Sky teammate Christopher Froome drink champagne during the 21st and last stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Houilles and Paris Champs-Elysees in Paris yesterday. Picture: EPA
PARIS: Geraint Thomas tightened Team Sky’s grip on the Tour de France when he handed the British outfit their sixth title in seven years yesterday and there is no sign that their domination will end anytime soon.

Thomas produced a near flawless performance to become the third British and Team Sky rider to triumph after Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Chris Froome (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin finished second for Team Sunweb after also taking the runner-up spot in the Giro d’Italia won by Froome, who ended up third overall.

Norway’s Alexander Kristoff won the final stage after 116km from Houilles to the Champs-Elysees, largely a long procession during which Thomas enjoyed some champagne before heading to the finishing line in a bunch sprint.

Froome’s failure to beat Thomas also showed how difficult it is to complete a Giro-Tour double, with Marco Pantani being the last man to achieve the feat in 1998 during the doping-tainted era.

Thomas, who won two mountain stages emerged as the strongest man in the race as he gained ground on his two rivals after taking the yellow jersey at the end of stage 11.

“Thomas was the absolute strongest over the last three weeks,” said Dumoulin.

“He didn’t make any mistakes, he was never put into trouble by anyone in the mountains or in any stage.”

“The strongest rider won the Tour de France,” Froome said.

“It was clear once we hit the Alps, Geraint was in better condition than I was.”

Thomas’ victory will come as a relief for Sky, especially in the wake of Froome’s popularity nose-diving after he was cleared of a doping offence months after testing positive for excessive levels of an asthma drug. - Reuters