Welshman Geraint Thomas crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018

Geraint Thomas' homecoming parade following Tour de France success. Image Matthew Lofthouse

by Callum Ellis & Editor

WALES’ Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018.

The Team Sky cyclist is the first Welshman to pick up the award since former Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs in 2009.

Thomas became only the third Briton to win the Tour de France after beating Dutchman Tom Dumoulin by one minute and 51 seconds.

The 32-year-old also claimed the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year award earlier this month.

Speaking at the awards event in Birmingham on Sunday evening, Thomas told the BBC: “I feel really lucky to have come into cycling at the time I did.

“I was just going down the local leisure centre going for a swim, then I end up riding my bike.

“I have so many people to thank. Obviously Sara my wife, it’s just as much for her as it is for me because she puts up with a hell of a lot, trust me.

“There’s definitely some tough times. She’s always there, picks me up. I’m just really lucky to have her and my family.

“As a bike rider, I was always focused on myself, but hearing stories like Tyson [Fury] and Billy [Monger], you realise that what we do does inspire people back home.

“To see people on their bikes and enjoying it, having a healthy lifestyle, you can take just as much pride from that as winning something like this.

“I take great pride in representing Britain and Wales abroad whenever I’m racing. It’s been an amazing year for British sport and long may it continue.”

Later on BBC Radio 5 Live Thomas revealed that he was convinced he would not win the prestigious award.

“I’d just talked myself out of it. I guess I thought: ‘Nah, it’s not going to happen’.

“It was honestly an honour just to be there and be a part of the six as I’ve never been nominated. It was just an amazing moment.”

Five-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was voted runner-up while England captain Harry Kane followed in third place.

England manager Gareth Southgate was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Three Lions to the last four of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King scooped the lifetime achievement award, while the England netball team were named Team of the Year and also picked up the Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year award.