A SPORTING superstar with links to the Vale of Clwyd has been recognised in the New Year's Honours List.

Last July, Geraint Thomas made history by becoming the first ever Welsh cyclist to win the gruelling Tour de France.

That achievement was recognised as he was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the feat has resulted in him being handed an OBE in the New Year's Honours List.

While the whole of Wales was ecstatic following Thomas' epic Tour de France triumph, his extended family in the Vale of Clwyd was immensely proud.

In July, Emyr Thomas, from Denbigh, was in Paris to cheer and congratulate his nephew-in-law to Tour de France glory.

Emyr is the uncle of Geraint's wife Sara Elen, who also travelled to France to congratulate her husband at the conclusion of the penultimate stage, which all but confirmed his Tour de France triumph.

The Tour de France champion is certainly no stranger to Denbigh.

A number of years ago, he undertook an energetic fundraising ride to the area.

Emyr said: "He came up to Denbigh Cricket Club for a charity ride after (a) Tour de France in memory of our dad Glyn Thomas.

"He rode a tandem with Sara to Denbigh Cricket Club in a day.

"As dad, my brother Eifion and myself have all played for Denbigh Cricket Club, (we) thought it fitting to raise money for dementia and hold the event at the club."

Reacting to Geraint Thomas being awarded an OBE, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns MP said: “There were few sporting performances this year that captivated the country more than Geraint Thomas’ epic pursuit over the mountain stages of the Pyrenees and the Alps.

"Together with his team mates Geraint displayed the immense grit and determination needed to secure and keep hold of that coveted yellow jersey.

“He is a brilliant ambassador for cycling, an inspirational role model and thoroughly deserves his place in history.

"Congratulations Geraint on your well-deserved honour.”