Three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin won the 20th stage 54km individual race against the clock at the Tour de France on Saturday.
Vincenzo Nibali finished fourth on the stage to ensure he will win the Tour after Sunday's final stage finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
On a great day for the French, Jean-Christophe Peraud took seventh on the stage to finish second overall while compatriot Thibaut Pinot ended up third and also on the podium.
Dutch time trial champion Tom Dumoulin was second on the stage at 1min 39sec of the irrepressible Martin, with Czech Jan Barta third at 1:47.
Martin, who finished in 1hr 06min 21sec, was always expected to win this and he didn't disappoint.
But behind him the true drama was seeing who would join Nibali on the final podium.
Pinot started the day second but was only 13sec ahead of Peraud and 15sec ahead of Spanish time trial champion Alejandro Valverde.
But already by the first time check it was obvious Valverde wasn't having a good day as he had lost 43sec to Pinot and more than a minute to Peraud.
Pinot was supposed to be the weakest of the three in the race against the clock but he put in a stunning performance to finish 12th on the stage and secure third place overall.
Peraud, 37, had a scare after 33km when he punctured but it didn't stop him and by the end he had finished 44sec quicker than Pinot to claim second stop.
But there was disappointment for another Frenchman, Romain Bardet, who lost fifth place by 2sec to American Tejay Van Garderen after puncturing like his AG2R teammate Peraud.