Vincenzo Nibali has all but sealed the Tour de France title after coming fourth in stage 20 – a 54 kilometre individual time-trial from Bergerac to Perigueux.
Bar accident on the final day the Italian – who has dominated this edition – should cross over the line on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday and celebrate a career grand slam of the three major tours having already won the Vuelta and Giro.
The day’s test was won by World champion Tony Martin of Germany.
Martin stormed through the course to set a winning time of one hour, six minutes and 21 seconds beating Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin in second and Czech Jan Barta in third.
Despite suffering a rear puncture Jean-Christophe Peraud put in a commanding performance to finish seventh and maintain his second place in the overall standings.
He is now likely to finish the race in that position to become the first Frenchman on the Tour de France podium in 17 years.
But it could very well be the first time in 30 years two Frenchman are standing on the final podium as Thibaut Pinot managed a twelfth place finish on the day to cement third place in the general classification.
Barring serious accident the overall standings should stay the same following the champagne-swigging final stage into the French capital on Sunday.
Nibali holds a seven minute and 52 second lead over Peraud.
Pinot is eight minutes and 24 seconds off the leaders pace and has a one minuite and 30 second lead over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.