Chris Froome effectively sealed a second Tour de France title despite Nairo Quintana's nerve-shredding ascent of Alpe-d'Huez.
Froome, the 2013 champion, led nearest rival Quintana (Movistar) by two minutes 38 seconds entering the 110.5-kilometres 20th stage from Modane Valfrejus.
The Team Sky leader's advantage was cut dramatically by the Colombian climber on the 13.8km finishing ascent and its 21 hairpin bends.
But Quintana ran out of road ahead of Sunday's ceremonial finish in Paris, where Froome will stand atop the podium for a second time.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the stage, with Quintana second, 18 seconds behind and Froome one minute 38 seconds adrift of the Frenchman in fourth.
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German rider Simon Geschke held his nerve on some gruelling climbs and dangerous descents to time his breakaway perfectly and win Stage 17 of this year's Tour de France in Pra-Loup.
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Warren Barguil nudged Team Sky's Geraint Thomas on the descent on Stage 16 and the Welshman diverted into a telegraph pole - hitting his head in what looked like a nasty crash.
Amazingly, he got back on his bike and has maintained 6th place in the overall standings.
Chris Froome claimed he was drenched in urine and called a "doper" after enhancing his Tour de France lead on a 14th stage won by fellow Briton Steve Cummings.
Froome (Team Sky) now leads nearest rival Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by three minutes 10 seconds, with his dominance bringing about innuendo and abuse.
The 30-year-old insists he is a clean rider.
He told ITV4: "A spectator threw a cup of urine in my face and said 'doper'."
Froome added: "You don't do that to anyone. It's not in the name of sport.
"That's extremely disappointing. Unfortunately I think a lot of the reporting on the race has been very irresponsible.
"What can I do? I can get angry. I'd rather keep my composure and stay focused on the race."
MTN Qhubeka's Steve Cummings claimed a stunning smash and grab win on stage 14 of the Tour de France to Mende on Saturday.
The 34-year-old from the Wirral claimed African squad MTN-Qhubeka's first Tour stage success after powering past Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) in the finishing straight.
The 178.5-kilometre route from Rodez finished at Mende airstrip after the punishing 3km ascent of the Cote de la Croix Neuve.
Cummings had been part of the day's 20-man escape group and stayed in touch as Bardet led Pinot over the summit before the near 2km run-in along the flat to the line.
And there Cummings, in his third Tour, took his chance.
Cummings rode for Team Sky in 2010 in support of Bradley Wiggins and in the 2012 Tour, riding for BMC Racing's Cadel Evans.
Team Sky leader Froome had anticipated attacks on his near three-minute advantage, but instead enhanced his lead as he fended off Nairo Quintana.
Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez of the Katusha team won the 12th stage of the Tour de France from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille on Thursday.
Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang of Astana was second in the demanding 195-km Pyrenees stage with Frenchman Romain Bardet third.
Britain's Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey.
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