(CNN)Chris Froome effectively sealed his second Tour de France triumph by keeping the yellow jersey after Saturday's 20th stage to Alpe d'Huez -- won by home hope Thibaut Pinot.
Tour de France 2015: Chris Froome seals yellow after Alpe d'Huez epic
Team Sky's Froome lost time to his nearest rival Nairo Quintana on the final punishing climb to the famous Alpine ski resort, but was able to limit his losses.
Quintana finished second on the stage, but having started the day two minutes 38 seconds behind the Briton, did not gain enough time to overhaul the race leader.
Froome will go into Sunday's final stage into Paris with a one minute 12 second advantage over Quintana, whose Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde will take the final place on the podium.
Kenyan-born Froome, who has had to fend off unsupported allegations of doping, having urine thrown over by a spectator and being spat at by another, admitted that he had been "on the limit" on the final ascent of a grueling Tour.
"There were so many emotions, there were moments when I thought I could be in danger," he admitted to Eurosport.
"I was on my limit, I was hurting up that last climb and I had to find something else.
"The stage was only 110km but felt like 300km," added the 30-year-old.
Fortunately, as Quintana, who had also pushed on the earlier Col de la Croix de Fer, made his move, Froome found support from teammates Wouter Poels and Richie Porte, who were able to pace him up the 13.8km climb.
Barring sickness or a freak crash on the final stage, which finishes on the Champs Elysees in the French capital, the result is set to be a repeat of the 2013 Tour where Froome relegated Quintana to second place.
Pinot, third last year behind winner Vincenzo Nibali, salvaged a largely disappointing Tour with a superb victory, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Quintana.
Sunday will see the sprinters take center stage with Andre Greipel looking for his fourth stage win of the Tour, but likely to come under challenge from Britain's Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who sealed the green points jersey Saturday.