Geraint Thomas has "defied the odds" by finishing runner-up in the Tour de France, according to Team Ineos team principal Sir Dave Brailsford.
Thomas was hoping to defend the title he won last year but has had to settle for second place behind Colombian team-mate Egan Bernal.
"He's had a fantastic tour," Brailsford told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme. "The first time someone wins the Tour de France they hardly ever come back and perform well the year afterwards.
"Geraint's defied all the odds there and could have won the race. He's fair, he's balanced, he wanted to win, but then as soon as the opportunity came for the team to win he was 100 per cent behind it and he's just a pleasure to work with. He's a class act."
Bernal will be the first Colombian to taste victory in the Tour and, at 22, is the youngest winner in the post-war era.
"He was 19 when we first spoke to him but he was so mature for his age," Brailsford added.
"He's such a well-balanced, super generous, kind, very giving individual, very concerned about everyone else, and yet he's got this incredible winning streak inside him which has made him the champion that he already is."