Floyd Landis grabbed the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey after finishing third in Saturday's time-trial to all but secure overall victory.
Landis shows the determination that has put him on the verge of victory
Landis finished behind Serhiy Honchar, who won his second time-trial of this year's race, and Andreas Kloden, who moved up to third overall.
But the American transformed a deficit of 30 seconds on previous leader Oscar Pereiro into a 59-second lead.
That should be enough to give Landis victory on the final stage into Paris.
Having put virtually a minute between himself and the Spaniard, Flandis should be able to enjoy a celebratory Sunday on the 154.5km from Sceaux-Anthony before the sprinters fight it out on the Champs-Elysees.
"It's a wonderful feeling," he said as he prepares to succeed compatriot Lance Armstrong as Tour champion.
"I was one of the lucky ones to be part of Lance's seven wins (as a former team-mate at US Postal). I was there for three of them but it wouldn't have been the same if I couldn't have done it on my own. I am very happy."
Honchar, who won the first long time-trial on stage seven by a minute from Landis, again set a scorching pace on the baking plains of Burgundy.
I knew these guys would fight as hard as they could. They certainly made me work for it
The veteran Ukrainian was more than three minutes quicker than anyone else when he arrived in Montceau-les-Mines, until Landis briefly threatened his supremacy.
The American was a second ahead at the first check-point after 16.5 of the 57km, but could not maintain his blistering early pace.
Landis was more concerned with eating into his deficit on Pereiro, which he turned into a minute lead by the 34km mark.
Andreas Kloden, runner-up to Armstrong two years ago, also kept up a high pace to finish second and oust Carlos Sastre from the third podium place.
"I knew with the general classification on the line these guys would fight as hard as they could and they certainly made me work for it," added a beaming Landis at the finish.
"Normally I am very confident in my ability to time-trial but when the yellow jersey is on the line and people have that incentive, it is not so easy to beat them."
Scot David Millar also enjoyed a succesful day, finishing 11th, four minutes behind Honchar.
"I was really relaxed and really enjoyed it today," Millar said. "I hadn't even gone round the course and I had no idea what to expect. But I feel like I used to. I started to fire again."
Results from stage 19's time-trial:
1. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr/T-Mobile) 1:07:46
2. Andreas Kloeden (Ger/T-Mobile) at 41 secs
3. Floyd Landis (USA/Phonak) at 1:11
4. Oscar Pereiro (Spa/Caisse) at 2:40
5. Sebastian Lang (Ger/Gerolsteiner) at 3:18
6. David Zabriskie (USA/CSC) at 3:35
7. Viatceslav Ekimov (Rus/DSC) at 3:41
8. Cadel Evans (Aus/CSC) at 3:41
9. Bert Grabsch (Ger/Phonak)
10. Damiano Cunego (Ita/Lampre) at 3:44
11. David Millar (Gbr/Saunier Duval) at 4:01
56. Bradley Wiggins (Gbr/Cofidis) at 7:35
1. Floyd Landis (USA/Phonak) 85 hours, 42 minutes, 30 seconds
2. Oscar Pereiro (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) +59 seconds
3. Andreas Kloeden (Ger/T-Mobile) +1:29
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa/CSC) +3:13
5. Cadel Evans (Aus/Dav-Lotto) +5:08
6. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) +7:06
7. Cyril Dessel (Fra/AG2R) +8:41
8. Christophe Moreau (Fra/AG2R) +9:37
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa/Euskaltel) +12:05
10. Michael Rogers (Aus/T-Mobile) +15:07
59. David Millar (GB/Saulnier) +2 hrs 03:51
123. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Cofidis) +3hrs 25:13