Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins has been confirmed as the first British Tour de France winner. The 32-year-old triple Olympic champion made it safely through the final 120-kilometre 20th stage from Rambouillet to Paris - indeed he did much more than that, being a key part of the lead-out which delivered team-mate Mark Cavendish to his fourth successive sprint victory on the Champs-Elysees.
It was Wiggins' 13th day in the yellow jersey after he took the lead on stage seven and he finished the race with an advantage of three minutes 21 seconds over Chris Froome as Team Sky claimed a famous 1-2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was third at +6:19.
Wiggins and Froome are the first Britons in Tour history to stand on the podium. And Cavendish's stage win took Team Sky's tally to six in this year's race - in addition to their yellow jersey exploits.
It was the seventh British stage success of the 2012 Tour, with Cavendish finishing with three wins, Wiggins with two, Froome with one and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) one.
All four Britons, together with Ian Stannard, are now due to combine on Saturday in a bid to help Cavendish win Olympic gold in the 250km road race on the opening day of London 2012.
Speaking soon after crossing the line, Wiggins said: "I've had 24 hours for this to soak in and today we were just on a mission to finish the job off with Cav. So job done and what a way for him to finish it off. Iím still buzzing.
"I've got to get used to going into the history books now, but Iím just trying to take everything in today first. Itís very surreal at the moment because this type of things [usually] happens to other people. You never imagine it happening to yourself."
A little later, the realisation of his achievement was beginning to sink in as he addressed a crowd filled with Britons at the podium presentation.
Wiggins joked: "We're just going to draw the raffle numbers now! Thanks for the amazing support the last three weeks. I really appreciate it.
"It's been a magical couple of weeks. Some dreams do come true. My old mother over there, her son's just won the Tour de France.
"Thank you everyone. Cheers. Have a safe journey home and don't get too drunk!"
Wiggins added: "It's hard to take in as it happens. Every lap of the Champs-Elysees was goose-pimple stuff.
"We had a job to do with Mark today and we were all motivated to do that so it made it go a lot quicker. The concentration was high and for Mark to finish it off like that, well, it couldn't get any better."
Wiggins' imperious victory in the penultimate day's time-trial meant that, barring a freak accident, he would create history.
Team Sky's livery had morphed overnight to become yellow, with Wiggins' bike also yellow as thousands of Britons lined the route.
The stage was ridden at pedestrian pace until reaching Paris, with Wiggins posing for pictures with the winners of the classifications - Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the green points jersey, King of the Mountains star Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and best young rider Tejay van Garderen.
Wiggins also rode alongside 2011 Tour champion Cadel Evans, a man the Londoner took inspiration from while watching at home after crashing out of the first week last year with a fractured collarbone.
Wiggins' Team Sky colleagues deservedly shared in the limelight too, with the Londoner indebted to his seven team-mates for their support since the June 30 start in Liege.
And when it came down to business on the concluding laps, the whole team controlled the pace superbly to set up Cavendish.
Wiggins himself was leading under the flamme rouge with a kilometre to go before Cavendish pounced into the lead off the final corner and delivered the perfect final flourish to a Tour like no other for Team Sky and British cycling, with Wiggins punching the air in delight in the main pack.