Geraint Thomas sealed Tour de France victory in Paris as Alexander Kristoff won the final sprint on the Champs-Elysees.

European champion Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates edged out Trek-Segafredo’s John Degenkolb, with Frenchman Arnaud Demare of Groupama-FDJ third.

At the end of the traditionally processional final stage, Team Sky’s Thomas crossed the line alongside team-mate Chris Froome to confirm his overall victory by 1min 51sec over Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin, with Froome a further 33 seconds back.

Thomas enjoyed all the usual traditions of the final stage, clinking champagne glasses with his team-mates on the 116km stage from Houilles.

He posed with the Welsh flag and was congratulated by riders throughout the peloton.

Thomas becomes the third Briton to win the Tour following Sir Bradley Wiggins and Froome, with the trio having won six of the last seven editions between them, all in Sky colours.

Thomas said: “It’s unbelievable. I think it’s going to take a while to sink in. Normally that stage is really hard but today I just seemed to float around. There was goosebumps going around there.

“The support, the Welsh and the British flags it’s unreal, it’s the Tour de France. To be riding around wearing this (the yellow jersey), it’s the stuff of dreams.”

On his Team Sky team-mates, Thomas added: “We stuck together through some tough times and really stayed strong. I owe them a lot.”

But with Welsh flags lining the Champs-Elysees, most eyes were on Thomas.

Sky have grown accustomed to winning the Tour, but team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said that seeing a rider who he has known since he was a junior win the Tour was extra special.

“We’re just pretty emotional,” he said. “I think it’s been the most emotional of all our victories...this is a different story altogether.

“Geraint, growing up in Wales, worked so hard for such a long time – he’s a classic ‘make the sacrifice, it’s worth it’ kind of guy.

“I’ve known him since he was 13-14 and he has chipped away. He’s ridden the perfect race. Faultless.

“If you lift your targets and ambitions high enough and make the sacrifice it’s worth it. Not just Geraint, anyone.”

Brailsford praised Thomas for his composure after a race which has seen Sky riders jostled and spat out by elements within the French crowd. Most of the vitriol went the way of four-time winner Froome, but none of them were immune.

“It’s not been easy race this one, obviously there have been some challenges along the way, but he’s dealt with it fantastically,” Brailsford added. “The great thing about cycling is you can get very close to the riders and you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. Ninety-nine per cent of people are great but every now and again you get the odd idiot – but we can live with that.

“They’ll be going bananas in Wales now and you couldn’t have a better ambassador for a country than him.”

Thomas has worn yellow since the end of stage 11 and effectively sealed victory in Saturday’s time trial, but said he was still struggling to take it all in.

“When I rode the Champs-Elysees for the first time in 2007 that was insane just to finish the race and just to be a part of it,” the two-time Olympic champion said.

“To now be riding round winning it is just incredible. It won’t really sink in for a few months, it’s just a whirlwind now. I seem to be floating around on cloud nine.

“Maybe when I’m like 70 sat in a corner of a pub telling some 18-year-old what I used to be it will sink in. It’s incredible, the stuff of dreams.”