Nicolas Roche has successfully defended his yellow jersey on the final day of the Route du Sud taking the general classification and clocking up the first overall stage-race success of his pro career.

Roche follows in the footsteps of his father Stephen and cousin Dan Martin who have both won the French event.

The Tinkoff Saxo rider showed he had fully recovered from last month’s arduous Giro d'Italia when he soloed to victory on yesterday's second stage of the three-day race which saw him take over as race leader.

Roche and his team rode to control today's stage to Castres, keeping tabs on his main rival Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

They finished in the main bunch five seconds behind Valverde's team-mate Adriano Malori, thus ensuring Roche’s overall victory.

The win gives Roche fresh impetus going into next month's Tour de France, which begins in Leeds, England on 5 July.

He is expected to support team leader Alberto Contador on the Tour but no doubt he will chase a stage win if the opportunity presents itself.