Bradley Wiggins has come closer to sealing an overall victory in the Tour de France, winning the penultimate stage in the epic race. Only an accident would realistically prevent him from winning.
Wiggins showed he was in no mood to relax on Saturday, coming within a whisker of becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France.
"I wanted to go out and finish with a bang," said Wiggins, who recorded a winning time of one hour, four minutes and 13 seconds for the 53.5 km course from Bonneval to Chartres.
"This is the Tour. It doesn't get much bigger than this," he said. "You couldn't write a better script really."
Wiggins went into Saturday's stage with a two minute and five second lead over his Sky team-mate Chris Froome, increasing his advantage on the Kenyan-born Briton.
After recent speculation about an internal leadership battle between the two, Froome was quick to praise his colleague.
"We saw today he was the strongest. I'm very happy. The goal was to win the Tour with Bradley. We made it. To be second is only a bonus."
Wiggins now enters Sunday's final stage to Paris with an overall lead of three minutes and 21 seconds on Froome, who himself has a lead of more than three minutes on third-placed Italian Vincenzo Nibali. Barring disaster, Wiggins should win.
Defending champion, Australian Cadel Evans, started the day in sixth place overall - nearly 10 minutes behind Wiggins – but finished 52nd to drop one place to seventh overall.
rc/tm (AFP, AP, Reuters)