Thomas would normally expect to be a domestique for four-time champion Froome at the Tour but victory at the Criterium against potential Tour contenders, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding Froome's adverse analytical finding from a drug test a year ago, means the Welshman could yet be riding for his own glory next month.
After catching up with the main leaders with 30km remaining, he crossed the line a handful of seconds off the pace without ever being in danger of losing possession of the yellow jersey. "They're super hard climbing stages and even harder over the weekend".
"There's a lot of climbing (on Saturday), it might be short but there are three big climbs and a little one as well so it will certainly be a big test".
In the final steep climb Martin, trailing the overall leaders by nearly three minutes, was allowed to escape as the overall contenders eyed each-other.
Rafael Nadal into French Open finals against Dominic Thiem
For Nadal it would be title number eleven in Paris and a seventeenth Major overall, for Thiem it is a first final at a Slam. That was swatted away with Nadal's double-handed backhand, though, and the second set duly went the way of the favourite.
As for Thomas, his final day was blighted by two punctures. It's a massive race and it's an incredible feeling.
"I was just counting down the kilometres on the last climb and knew I had about 1'20" to lose on [Adam] Yates so as each kilometre went by I was more confident and happy [with each passing kilometre].
"I'm in better condition than I expected", he added, before playing down the significance of his 16-month win drought.
The race is a good indicator of form heading into the Tour de France, which takes place from 7-29 July.
"It's been a learning process starting in a new team so getting this win for UAE is great", he said.