Chris Froome became the first Briton to win a second Tour de France title, as he regained the yellow jersey in an epic Alpine battle on Saturday (25 July).
The 2013 champion won by just one minute and 12 seconds over Colombian rival Nairo Quintana who produced a superb ride up to Alpe D'Huez.
The climbing specialist finished second on the stage, 80 seconds ahead of Froome who was made to fight all the way up to the ski station.
Froome had taken a lead of three minutes 10 seconds over Quintana into the final two stages in the Alps, but that was slashed as Quintana produced a series of attacks on the tight mountain roads.
However, Froome deservedly made history as a multiple British tour champion after all the physical and verbal abuse he has endured for almost three weeks.
"I knew I had 2-38 to play with but at some moments it was hard to believe I'd hang on," Froome said.
"I was worried, but it is an incredible feeling. It's harder to say if this was harder than 2013, but every day was flat out, it was very hard.
"Next year I'll come back and renew the rivalry with Nairo. He's a great prospect, has a bright future, a great talent who races correctly, making his race at the right moment."
Now Froome, 30, and his team can savour Sunday's traditional victory ride onto the Champs-Elysees in Paris, where the yellow jersey is traditionally not attacked.
Froome has dominated the Tour and been in the maillot jaune of the race leader since regaining it on stage six in Le Havre on 9 July.
But Froome, who also finished runner-up to Bradley Wiggins in 2012, has seen his victory overshadowed by attacks on and off the road.
The Nairobi-born rider had urine thrown at him on one stage and on Saturday was spat at by a fan, while each of his Team Sky teammates were verbally assaulted.
Froome was also the victim of a doping slur campaign, partly caused by the sport's dark past and jealousy of his team.
The win was the third by Team Sky in the past four years with Froome's defence only ended last year by a broken hand and wrist.
Froome took a lead of two minutes and 38 seconds over Quintana – whose teammate Alejandro Valverde was almost three minutes further back – into Saturday's decisive Alpine stage.
The Movistar duo tried a pincer move on the first of the two climbs and opened up a 10-second lead with Froome out of teammates.
But Froome hunted them down and Sky were able to regroup for the final iconic climb to Alpe D'Huez with its 21 switchbacks in just over eight miles.
Froome and Quintana did the same double act before the Colombian made his final desperate bid for the yellow jersey with around three miles left.
The gap between the two continued to grow until over the one-minute mark, even though Froome had two Sky riders in support.
Quintana crossed the line 18 seconds behind stage winner Thibaut Pinot of France, picking up a six-second time bonus before having to wait.
After the race, he said: "I gave it everything. I lost the Tour in the first week when my team struggled with crashes, I lost a minute and a half, and that's what cost me the Tour."
Froome finally saw the victory line come into sight as he crossed clearly shattered from his efforts.
"It was a bit close in the end," Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford said. "But I think after everything he's endured, Chris has shown his real mettle.
"They don't see what we see every day. He's a credit to Britain. Today the lads were geed up for it and they were superb.
"Chris is the most unbelievable competitor – the most polite guy off the bike – but on it the most resilient character I've met.
"He deserves more credit than he gets. The way he puts up with the abuse is unbelievable. Britain doesn't have many champions like this fella."