Britain's Chris Froome virtually secured overall victory in the 100th Tour de France Saturday after a 20th and penultimate stage won by Colombian climbing specialist Nairo Quintana.
Ahead of Sunday's final stage from Versailles to Paris, which is usually only disputed by the spinters, Froome defended his significant overnight lead over his rivals on the final day in the mountains.
"I think in terms of the general classification we can say it's done," said the Kenyan-born Briton, who will succeed compatriot and teammate Bradley Wiggins as the race champion.
Tomorrow will be a day for the sprinters on the Champs Elysees, and that suits me fine
"Tomorrow will be a day for the sprinters on the Champs Elysees, and that suits me fine."
Spain's Alberto Contador, second overnight, fell off the pace on the final 10.3 km climb to Annecy-Semnoz and fell to fourth overall at 7min 10sec behind Froome.
Contador's inability to follow the pace in the final five kilometres of the climb left Froome, Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez to forge on ahead and dispute the stage victory.
Froome tested his rivals with a short burst of acceleration but the Team Sky leader could not respond when Quintana pulled ahead inside the last two kilometres.
Quintana went on to cross the finish line alone to claim his maiden stage win on his race debut, moving up to second overall at 5:03 behind Froome, a day before the final in Paris.
"It's amazing to achieve this but a lot of it comes down to the work of the team," said Quintana.
"We wanted to finish the race with a stage win for me and I knew today I had a chance to finish second overall."
Rodriguez came over the line 17sec adrift, but the Katusha team leader's efforts moved him up to third overall at 5:47 behind Froome.
The race ends with the 21st stage on Sunday when Froome is virually guaranteed to become the second Briton, after teammate Bradley Wiggins last year, to win the world's biggest bike race.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies