It's official: Chris Froome is on the verge of making history.
With one stage to go in the 2013 Tour de France, the British rider can taste success, as he retained his lead on the rest of the field, which now stands at a shade over five minutes in total.
During the Tour's 20th stage, Froome lost out to Nairo Quintana, finishing third overall. But the 28-year-old has clearly set himself up to be the second consecutive Englishmen to capture the world's most famous cycling competition.
Here's a look at the updated leaderboard heading into Sunday's final stage:
|1.||GBR FROOME Christopher||1||SKY PROCYCLING||80h 49' 33''|
|2.||COL QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander||128||MOVISTAR TEAM||80h 54' 36''||+ 05' 03''|
|3.||ESP RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin||101||KATUSHA TEAM||80h 55' 20''||+ 05' 47''|
|4.||ESP CONTADOR Alberto||91||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||80h 56' 43''||+ 07' 10''|
|5.||CZE KREUZIGER Roman||94||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||80h 57' 43''||+ 08' 10''|
|6.||NED MOLLEMA Bauke||164||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||81h 01' 58''||+ 12' 25''|
|7.||DEN FUGLSANG Jakob||63||ASTANA PRO TEAM||81h 02' 33''||+ 13' 00''|
|8.||ESP VALVERDE Alejandro||121||MOVISTAR TEAM||81h 05' 42''||+ 16' 09''|
|9.||ESP NAVARRO Daniel||139||COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS||81h 06' 08''||+ 16' 35''|
|10.||USA TALANSKY Andrew||178||GARMIN - SHARP||81h 07' 55''||+ 18' 22''|
Quintana did his very best to cut into Froome's seemingly decisive lead. But though the Colombian did a masterful job in winning the stage, the Brit's persistence and ability to remain within striking distance of the leader assured that his five-minute lead would remain intact.
As the Tour's official Twitter account pointed out, this was a decisive finish for Froome:
It wasn't easy, but Froome gutted it out and hung tight with Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez to maintain his insurmountable lead over the rest of the field, no matter how drained he appeared, via The Guardian:
The three hold their positions for a few pushes of the pedals – while Contador slips even further behind – Rodriguez is out in front, Quintana in second and Froome in third. The later two look very comfortable as Rodriguez has done a lot of work on this climb. And then, from nowhere Froome goes for it, Quintana follows and then speeds off leaving Froome behind. Quintana won't be caught. Froome looks very tired.
Though Quintana has put together a very impressive Tour, Froome has been the star of this year's edition of the historic race, showing the sort of determination and mettle that's required to take home the yellow jersey.
Finishing atop a more than 5,000-foot summit, he all but locked up his Tour title by digging deep and finding a way to remain close to Quintana, a rider with a reputation for darting up mountains faster than anyone. And that's fitting, given how thoroughly the British cyclist has dominated this competition.
Sunday, Chris Froome will wrap up his title in typically picturesque fashion. But he cemented his status as the 2013 Tour's winner on Saturday.