Team Sky's Thomas wins Criterium

Briton Thomas takes Dauphine lead as Ireland's Martin wins stage

Briton Thomas takes Dauphine lead as Ireland's Martin wins stage

Team Sky's Thomas came home 21 seconds behind Spain's Bilbao, who staged a heroic solo effort 12 kilometres from the finish to triumph for Astana.

"It's incredible, it hasn't sunk in yet", Thomas said of the victory.

A late flurry saw him claim third on the day, nine seconds behind Yates, and third overall but Thomas crossed the line ten seconds later to earn the second UCI WorldTour stage race win of his career after Paris-Nice 2016.

"I think these four days are the hardest four days I've raced in a one-week stage race", said Thomas.

"The puncture didn't really help and having to chase back on, but the guys were just incredible, they rode really well for me and I had the legs to get back".

"Without the boys here I would not have won the Dauphine". It's easy to underestimate how far there is to go and I didn't want to go too early, die off, and lose time.

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He follows in the footsteps of compatriots Bradley Wiggins, who won the race twice, and three-time victor Chris Froome.

"The Tour de France has been my goal since start of season, but the Volta a Catalunya set things back", Yates said about crashing out of the Catalonia tour in March.

But it did give Thomas the chance to lead Team Sky. I just made that final move towards the end.

Adam Yates was extremely happy to win the stage after a hard week of racing.

France's Romain Bardet finished third on the stage and in the general classification, with Ireland's Dan Martin 48 seconds behind in fourth.

Thomas is next due to race in the National Road Race championships in Northumberland where he is down to do the time trial (29 June) and the road race (1 July).

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