How Geraint Thomas has gone from a cycling club in Cardiff to Tour de France champion

Geraint Thomas has won the 2018 Tour de France.

He effectively sealed victory by retaining the yellow jersey at the end of the race's penultimate state.

In the moments that followed, an emotional Thomas told ITV: "The last time I cried was at my wedding.

"Tour de France? I just can't believe it."

Celebrating his momentous journey is the Maindy Flyers youth club in Cardiff where the champion first began training.

The club's founder Debbie Wharton and her colleagues tweeted pictures from the athlete's early days when fewer eyes were on Thomas' talent.

A decade ago he finished 140th in cycling's most prestigious race. Now he's on the cusp of victory.

But Geraint Thomas is used to success.

The decorated Olympian has enjoyed golden days alongside the likes of Bradley Wiggins and played key roles in Chris Froome's Tour de France victories - while organising a host of weddings.

British Geraint Thomas of Team Sky wearing the yellow jersey of leader in the overall ranking pictured in action. Credit: PA

Now the Welshman could become the third British rider to claim the Tour crown.

Here's a look through his long, hard ride to the top...

A younger Geraint Thomas before his haul of gold medals. Credit: PA

Thomas was born on 25 May 1986 and grew up on the outskirts of Cardiff.

Going by the nickname of 'G', he always dreamed of being a professional cyclist and spent most of his free time at the Maindy velodrome honing his skills.

After impressing at a young age, he joined the British Cycling Olympic Academy in 2004.

Thomas cycling for Barloworld in 2007. Credit: PA

By 2007, he turned professional signing with Barloworld and competed in the Tour de France for the first time, finishing 140th.

A year later, he was part of a world-record breaking Olympic cycling team.Alongside Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins, the Welshman set a world record time in the semi-final of the team pursuit and then claimed gold in the final.

Paul Manning, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins pose with their medals at the 2018 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Credit: PA

For his remarkable efforts, he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 New Year Honours.

After leaving Barloworld, he joined the new British team, Team Sky in 2010 along with Steve Cummings, Russell Downing, Chris Froome, Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard as the founding members.

He was awarded an MBE in 2009 for his Summer Olympics heroics. Credit: PA

That year he finished 67th in the Tour de France and bettered it in 2011 with a 31st position.

He proved the first time was no fluke when competing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London where he set another world record and won a second gold medal in the team pursuit.

New team, same result - a gold medal in the team pursuit. Credit: PA

There was more medals to be had at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 winning the men’s road race.

But, it's not all about cycling; he's dedicated off the track too.

In his spare time, he and his wife Sara Elen run a wedding venue in Chepstow which they renovated following their own wedding in 2015.

In the past few years at the Tour de France, Thomas has acted as a support rider geared towards helping his team leader Chris Froome win.

And he's done a very good job of that with Froome lifting three titles in a row from 2015.

Last year, Thomas started to break rank when he led the tour, earning the privilege of wearing the iconic yellow jersey - as is tradition for the leader of the tour - before crashing out.

Geraint Thomas held the yellow jersey briefly in 2017 before his teammate Chris Froome won the title. Credit: PA

In this year's race, he has broken out of the support role and demonstrated champion qualities after an incredible ride in the Alps at stage 11.

He has now consolidated his lead and proven his credentials to lift the trophy aloft come the finale in Paris.

After his amazing victory on stage 11, Thomas took the overall lead - and the jacket - and hasn't looked back. Credit: PA

What does his team leader think about his lead? Well, it's all smiles on Team Sky with Froome confirming that he will support his friend 'G'.

"I’m happy just to be in the position I’m in. I’ll still fight for the podium and obviously we want to see ‘G’ up there in yellow", said the reigning champion.

Could he build a dynasty? He's shown at every point in his career that he is capable of winning - he is a double Olympic winner and multiple world champion - why would this be any different.