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Thomas claims yellow jersey

Geraint Thomas has taken the yellow jersey after the fourth stage of the Paris-Nice race after his second-place finish on the 201.5km stage.

The Team Sky rider and double Olympic gold medallist for Great Britain pulled away from the pack with eventual winner Tom-Jelte Slagter of Holland - riding for Garmin Sharp - for an exciting finish to the Nevers to Belleville leg.

Thomas, who was placed fifth overall ahead of Wednesday's race, took the lead in the standings by three seconds from stage three winner John Degenkolb of Team Giant-Shimano with Slagter placed third, while Movistar's Jose Joaquin Rojas held onto fourth place after finishing eighth.

A delighted Thomas praised the rest of his team for their efforts after the fourth stage and told TeamSky.com: "It's a massive race.

"Behind the Grand Tours, it's one of the biggest stage races you can do so it's great to wear the jersey, especially after the work the boys have done for me in the last few days.

"They were really good and I was happy I could repay them and get up there to take the jersey. It's a great feeling."

Thomas admitted there is still a lot of work to do, but was pleased to have the upper hand at the halfway stage.

He added: "I was pretty relaxed on the first few stages and felt like I could move about the bunch nicely and be in a good position.

"I was on the right side of the splits and those seconds will definitely come in handy I think over the next few days.

"It would have been nice to have won the stage as well, but when I saw the guys coming with a kilometre to go, I didn't want to throw away that effort we'd just made.

"I rode hard and got jumped, but like I say, it's just great to be wearing the jersey.

"I felt decent on the climb and then afterwards I felt like I had a bit of gas left in the tank.

"It's all still to race for and it's going to be tough with four solid days to come. There's still a lot of good bike riders within a few seconds so it will definitely be interesting racing."