Sir Bradley Wiggins insists he is eyeing up a strong finish to the 2014 Tour of Britain, even if he concedes that the chance of holding onto his title is slim.
Julien Vermote won the penultimate stage in Brighton from the breakaway, but all eyes were on the peloton as it split, leaving then-leader Alex Dowsett behind.
Vermote's Omega Pharma-Quick Step team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski led a pack of leading contenders, including Team Sky's Wiggins, over the line one minute 20 seconds behind the stage winner, and it took another 63 seconds for Dowsett to make it home.
That put Dylan van Baarle into the leader’s jersey, 19 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski and 25 clear of Edoardo Zardini.
Irishman Nicolas Roche is fourth, 35 seconds down, while defending champion Wiggins is seventh, 47 seconds down - still very much in contention ahead of the split final day which includes a time trial and a circuit race in central London.
"[Taking the lead] is a big ask over 8.8 kilometres," Wiggins said on the Team Sky website. "But you never know with crashes and punctures - anything can happen.
"I think a podium is more realistic. At the end of the day it's about going out there and trying to win the stage.
"The crowd are really encouraging. We do so many races in Europe where you hardly see anyone on the road. From this morning all the way through the stage there were just lines of people. It's great and it's certainly changed over the last few years."
© Sportsbeat 2014