WELSH cycling star Geraint Thomas says he’ll relish being the centre of attention after his win in the prestigious week-long Paris-Nice stage race.

The 29-year-old Team Sky rider, born in Cardiff and now based in Chepstow, joins the late Tommy Simpson and Sir Bradley Wiggins as British winners of the race.

And Thomas, who also won the Volta ao Algarve stage race earlier in the year, knows he will now be a marked man in the eyes of rival teams.

"That's part of being successful I guess and dealing with that," he said.

"I'm perfectly happy with that and I'd rather that than people think 'he's useless, just let him go.'

"People know me more and it's not just 'he's a strong rider that might get a win'. Now if I do attacking in some of the big races people are going to watch me, I guess."

Thomas became the first British rider to win the formidable E3 Harelbeke race in Belgium in March 2015 and put in a strong display at last year's Tour de France to help Chris Froome win his second title.

In the Paris-Nice race he held a 15-second lead over two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador heading into the final stage.

Contador attacked on the final climb of the race and Thomas cracked 1km from the summit, but he made up 30 seconds on the descent to take the win, with Australian Richie Porte, who rides for BMC Racing, third overall.

Thomas admitted to a sense of disbelief after getting the better of Contador and Porte.

"It's incredible; it's hard to believe," he said after the stage.

"Contador, man, he's one of the best stage racers ever. Richie, he won nearly every stage race he did last year, so to beat those two I can't believe it.

"I obviously came here wanting to do the best I could and win, but to actually do it is the biggest win for sure of my whole career."