Bradley Wiggins struggled to contain his emotions after moving on the verge of a first British Tour de France win in Paris on Sunday.
Wiggins enters Friday's 222.5-kilometre 18th stage from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde with a lead of two minutes five seconds over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, with nearest hostile rival Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) third, 2mins 41secs adrift.
"All the way up the last climb I almost had tears in my eyes," said Wiggins, after finishing 18 seconds ahead of Nibali on the 143.5-kilometre 17th stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes.
"The minute we went over the Peyresourde, I pretty much knew that was the climbing done for the Tour and that was an incredible feeling.
"At that point, the first time in this whole Tour since I've led this race, I thought 'maybe I've just won the Tour'.
"That's where everyone said I was at my weakest, in the mountains."
Froome was seen imploring Wiggins to stay with him in the finale.
Some believe Froome could have won the Tour himself, but he knows his role was to support Wiggins.
"I'm 27 and I hope to win the Tour one day," said Froome, after finishing second on the stage to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), with Wiggins third.
"If you had said to me a month before the Tour that with three days to go I would be second I wouldn't have believed you. I'm very happy."
Froome is also on the verge of history - no Briton has finished on the Tour podium in 98 previous editions. Now there are set to be two.
The last time two riders from the same nation finished first and second in the Tour was 1984, when Laurent Fignon finished ahead of Bernard Hinault.
Hinault's second place two years later behind Greg LeMond was the most recent time two team-mates held the top two positions in Paris.
Wiggins has been in imperious form this season, winning the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races, and has carried his form into the Tour.
The 32-year-old was second in the Tour's prologue and has remained in the top two of the general classification since, taking the maillot jaune on stage seven and was set to wear it for an 11th day today.
The penultimate day is a 53.5km time-trial and is likely to be the final opportunity for time changes, but the discipline is Wiggins' strongest pursuit and success in Paris on Sunday beckons.