Froome kept the lead and won the race

Britain's Chris Froome in the pink jersey of the overall leader makes his way to the start of the 20th stage of the Giro d'Italia

Chris Froome (Team Sky) will tomorrow become the first British victor of the Giro d'Italia after withstanding a flurry of attacks from his closest rival, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), on the final climb of the race.

Team Sky's Froome backed up his astonishing solo attack of Friday, when he turned the race on its head, with a controlled ride and will take a 46-second lead into Sunday's final processional stage into Rome.

Froome, who is still under investigation over an adverse doping test result, became the first British victor of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the third man to complete the Tour de France-Vuelta double in the same year.

Victory on the Giro will see the 33-year-old emulate Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault, the only riders to have won three Grand Tours in succession.

"I don't think I've ever attacked 80 kilometers from the finish, riding on my own and going all the way to the finish", Froome said. "It has been such a brutal race but I have to say, it has been a handsome, attractive event".

"After what happened yesterday, it was very important for our team to make it up with a stage victory", Nieve said after his team's fifth win of the race.

What an incredible Giro d'Italia. Though that gap did slip in the final kilometres, it was enough for him to cross the line solo, 2-17 ahead of second place Gesink.

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Thibaut Pinot had entered the stage in third overall but the French rider cracked on the penultimate climb and dropped far behind, enabling Miguel Angel Lopez to take the final podium spot, 4:57 behind Froome.

Long-time leader Simon Yates, who started the day three minutes and 22 seconds ahead of compatriot Froome, ended the stage with his Giro hopes in tatters after blowing up and finishing 35 minutes adrift in the general classification.

With two stages to go and with only remained mountain stage Chris Froome is the new pink jersey with a 40-second advantage over Tom Dumoulin, seconds in the GC.

As the peloton arrived at the base of the penultimate climb it was still over 5 minutes in arrears but the big story was it was not just Yates suffering the shame of being dropped today, third placed rider on GC, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), was also tailed off at the base of the climb, conceding time rapidly, as he nearly ground to a halt. His only previous highlight in the race was winning Stage 14 up Monte Zoncolan, one of the toughest climbs in Europe.

"I know inside that I didn't do anything wrong", Froome said. I should know. past year I was in the shape of my life. I did everything right.

Froome, who is still under investigation over an adverse doping test result following a urine sample at last year's Vuelta which showed excessive use of an asthma inhaler, again showed his class in the mountains.

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