"The last time I cried was when I got married", Thomas said as he teared up. "I didn't think about it all race, and now suddenly I won the Tour".
A year after being thrown off the race for causing the crash that ended sprint rival Mark Cavendish's campaign, five-time victor Sagan returned to the Tour looking to equal Erik Zabel's record haul of six victories in the points competition.
Thomas, who now has another major honour to accompany his pair of Olympic gold medals on his mantlepiece, won the eleventh and twelfth stages in the Alps while continually picking up advantages elsewhere to accumulate a final time of 83 hours, 17 minutes and 13 seconds. Normally it's a really hard stage but I seemed to float around today. It was Kristoff's first stage win of the Tour, justifying his selection by UAE Team Emirates who collected their second stage of the Tour after team leader, Ireland's Dan Martin, had clinched stage six at Mûr-de-Bretagne.
"You're not going to find anybody who's got a bad word against Geraint", said Brailsford, who did not even have to manage his two leaders' conflicting ambitions.
Emyr, from Denbigh, is in Paris to cheer and congratulate his nephew-in-law to Tour de France glory.
Against all odds, Thomas soldiered on for 3,000 kilometers and three weeks to the finish line in Paris, where he celebrated the first of Froome's four victories with the rest of their Team Sky teammates.
Froome took second place in the 31-km time trial, against the clock, from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle, won by a single second by time-trial world champion Tom Dumoulin, with Thomas coming home third, 14 seconds off the pace.
In an interview, he said: "I can't believe it".
Geraint Thomas is set to be crowned the third British victor of the Tour de France in seven years as he produced another superb performance during the penultimate stage today.
'When I rode the race for the first time 12 years ago it was insane just to finish the race and to be part of it, ' he told ITV.
Thomas and the peloton will complete the arduous, three-week race with a 72-mile ride that ends on the Champs Élysées.
In a race that saw several contenders lose time to mishaps, Thomas stayed out of trouble and was able to stamp his authority on the race more and more as it went on, while Froome had been put on the back foot from the opening stage when a late excursion into a field cost him 51 seconds.
Team Sky sat up together, chinking glasses, smiling and laughing for the cameras. "Obviously it's not nice to hear (the jeers) but I do what I do and focus on myself", Thomas said.
"It wasn't like I had to work for him as a domestique".
The Welshman went into this year's race saying he was hoping to challenge his team leader Froome.