Geraint Thomas protected his Tour de France lead in Saturday’s time trial to all but clinch a first Grand Tour title.
Barring an extraordinary development on the ride to Paris and the Champs-Elysees on stage 21, a largely processional ride, Team Sky’s Thomas will be celebrating come the end of the weekend.
The Briton had added to his lead with a time bonus in a superb stage on Friday and he again thrived, even without the support of his Sky team-mates.
Thomas was unflustered by an early wobble and finished third to ensure his lead over Tom Dumoulin was only cut by 14 seconds to a still unassailable one minute and 51 seconds.
Dumoulin was at least belatedly able to celebrate his first stage win of the race as he dramatically pipped Chris Froome by a second, the result confirmed after a confusing delay in which the Sky rider initially appeared to have recorded a faster time.
Froome’s blistering time trial allowed him to climb back onto the podium, unseating Primoz Roglic, but his run of three straight Grand Tour triumphs comes to an end.
He will instead watch team-mate Thomas deservedly soak up the plaudits on Sunday.
NO MOVEMENT IN POINTS STANDINGS
As general classification contenders Dumoulin, Froome and Thomas mopped up the majority of the points on offer on Saturday, there was no movement in the standings.
And with Peter Sagan long since having wrapped up the green jersey, the only real prize on Sunday will be the sprint for the finish.
Arnaud Demare is well placed after winning earlier in the week, with Sagan’s injury issues potentially granting the Groupama-FDJ rider with a great opportunity.
STAGE 20 RESULT
1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 00:40.52
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 00:40.53
3. Thomas Dumoulin (Team Sky) 00:41.06
4. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 00:41.42
5. Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) 00:41.43
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 80:30.37
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1.51
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +2.24
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 467
2. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 196
3. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 183
King of the Mountains
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 170
2. Warren Barguil (Team Fortuneo-Samsic) 91
3. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) 76
A 116km ride to Paris concludes with eight laps on the Champs-Elysees as Thomas closes out a sublime race.