Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins knows a first British victory is within reach after enhancing his hold on the yellow jersey on the final day in the Pyrenees.
Wiggins began the 143.5-kilometre route from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes in the maillot jaune for a 10th day and with a lead of two minutes five seconds over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) 18 seconds further adrift.
But Wiggins, with able support from Froome, distanced Nibali on the finishing ascent as the Italian fell further behind to face a deficit of 2mins 41secs with three days' racing remaining.
Froome was seen imploring Wiggins to stay with him in the finale, with Nibali struggling.
"We were talking about Nibali," said Wiggins, who allowed himself to contemplate the top of the podium in Paris 6.5km from the end of the day's route.
"We knew he was on his limit. The moment we crossed the Peyresourde, I allowed myself to drift and that was the first time I thought maybe I've won the Tour today.
"All the way up that last climb my concentration had gone, everything about performance had gone.
"Chris was egging me on to take more time and I was in another world, really."
Wiggins also claimed that he would happily support Froome's bid to win a Tour in the future: "Chris'll have his day for sure, 100%," Wiggins said.
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