Thomas: This confirms I can be up there with the best stage racers

Basking in the glow of a victory he called the biggest of his career, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) said Sunday that his overall win at Paris-Nice has conformed his status as a top WorldTour stage racer.

Thomas eked out and overall win by four seconds over Tinkoff's Alberto Contador, whose persistent attacks over the final stage put Thomas and his team under the gun throughout the day. Thomas relied on teammate Sergio Henao to help claw back the crucial seconds Contador had twice taken out of him on the day's climbs, the final effort coming on the 15km descent back to the finish line in Nice.

"I knew I had to keep fighting and I never gave up," Thomas told following the press conference. "Having Sergio there with me at the end really helped, and I owe Tony Gallopin a few beers as well.

"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."

Thomas heaped praise on his teammates for their efforts throughout the week, but especially in Sunday's final stage.

"I can't thank my team-mates enough," he said. "They've been 100 per cent 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."

The Paris-Nice victory is Thomas' first WorldTour stage race win, and he hinted during the interview that he and the team will celebrate in fine fashion in Nice Sunday night.

"This confirms I can be up there with the best stage racers in the world and I'll definitely celebrate tonight," he said. "You don't win very often, so when you do, you have to enjoy it."

After his celebration, Thomas will turn his attention toward the Classics.

"Next up I've got Milan-San Remo, the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of Flanders before a training camping in Tenerife," he said. "I'll then ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour de Romandie. It's a big block and to win this is a great way to start it and take the pressure off a bit."

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