Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) took a significant step in becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France after finishing third – behind team-mate Chris Froome and winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on stage 17.
Here are the the best images from the final mountain stage of the 2012 Tour.
Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) makes sure he hasn’t forgotten his helmet on the start line
A moment of contemplation for race leader Bradley Wiggins ahead of the 143.5km stage from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Peyragudes
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) pulls one of his trademark facial expressions in defence of his polka dot jersey
Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) endured another tough day, finishing 18th on the stage, nearly two minutes behind Wiggins and Froome
Froome paces Wiggins up the final climb, a 15.4km category one ascent at an average of 5.1 per cent
Bernhard Eisel does the same job – but at the back of the field – for world champion Cavendish
Valverde’s victory was his first at the Tour de France since returning from a two-year doping ban
The Spaniard’s win was his fourth career victory at the race
Froome and Wiggins crossed the line 19 seconds later in second and third place on the stage, with the maillot jaune affording himself a smile having conquered the final mountain stage of the 2012 Tour