ONLY a disaster in tomorrow's individual time trial will prevent a British rider from standing on top of the podium for the first time when this year's Tour de France finishes in Paris on Sunday.
Two days of climbing in the Pyrenees were the last real chance the likes of Italian Vincenco Nibali and Aussie star Cadel Evans had to make inroads into the lead of Brits Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
The first of those, on Wednesday, signalled the death knell for Evans who battled a stomach bug and unrelenting heat before losing almost five minutes on the leaders, sliding to seventh overall and more than eight minutes behind Wiggins.
Nibali on the other hand was able to break up the lead group, but not Wiggins or Froome.
The Italian maintained his third place overall, saying his ambition of a podium finish was on track.
After his two stars had held off the challenges, Team Sky boss Sean Yates said the finish line was now in sight.
"The guys are doing what they've got to do, but it's never been seen before in British cycling," Yates said. "The game's still on, and it's not over until we reach Paris, but at the moment we're looking good."
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