ESPELETTE, France (AP) – Geraint Thomas is no longer a supporter for Chris Froome in Paris wearing a yellow jersey.

The Welshman with Team Sky has successfully defended his first title in the Tour de France by defending his lead in the penultimate time trial stage on Saturday.

Thomas takes advantage of 1 minute, 51 seconds over Tom Dumoulin in the most-ceremonial end on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.

"It's just overwhelming," said Thomas. "I did not think about the whole race, and now I suddenly won the tour."

Dumoulin won the 20th stage one second ahead of four-times champion Froome, who took Primoz Roglic to third overall. [19659008] Thomas finished third, 14 seconds behind. But that was more than enough, with an advantage of more than two minutes at the beginning of the day.

"The strongest guy has won this Tour de France," said Froome. "Tomorrow, on the podium with G, it will be a really proud moment for me."

Thomas, known as "G", was a supportive rider during Froomes title rides, but he became Sky's undisputed leader Froome collapsed in the grueling 17th stage through the Pyrenees.

Thomas and Froome had been together in the small Barloworld team for ten days.

"Because we've been with teammates and friends for so long it's easier to communicate honestly," Froome said. "It was clear as soon as we got to the Alps that Geraint was in better shape than I. It was pretty easy, really."

In red, white and blue colors, a very yellow suit on a British flag bicycle, Thomas was the last driver to start.

In a few drops of rain, Thomas was quick to regain control as his wheel seemed to come early to a tricky, tight corner. Still, he was first at the two checkpoints before slowing down in the last few kilometers.

"I felt strong, I felt really good, I heard that I was up and maybe I pressed a little hard on some of those corners," said Thomas. "Nico (Portal, Sky Sports Director) told me, I I should relax, calm down and just make sure I won the tour. And I did. "

At the finish, Thomas screamed loudly and held his arms out in the celebration, hugging his wife, Sara Elen, as soon as he got off his bike.

" The last time I did was crying when I got married, "Thomas said as he trembled.

Thomas is ready to become the third British driver – and first Welshman – to win the tour to Bradley Wiggins and Froome "It's really crazy – just all the interest in Cardiff," said Thomas. "It's great to put it on the map. We are a small nation and we really come behind everyone who succeeds. It's been quite crazy at home with the noise, so I'm looking forward to celebrating again. "

An all-round driver who began his career on the track helped Thomas at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games in team pursuit before turning his full attention to road racing.

Thomas won the yellow jersey by winning the 11th stage in the Alps, followed by another win on Alpe d & # 39; Huez the day after, defending his advantage The Pyrenees.

"He was in the form of his life," Dumoulin said. "He made no mistakes. He was never injured by anyone, in the mountains or anywhere – even alone. "

The time trial world champion, Dumoulin drove under 41 minutes over the hilly and technical 31-

It was the first time in 12 years that the tour Passing through the Basque Country and fans waving the region's red, green and white flags lined the entire route in front of the traditional half of the area.

It was Dumoulin's second stage win in the Tour, having also won a time trial in 2016 The Dutchman won a total of six TTs in the three Grand Tours – the Tour, which contributed to the Giro d'Italia and the Spaniard Vuelta

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Associated Press authors Ciaran Fahey and Samuel Petrequin.

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Andrew Steam on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf

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