Edvald Boasson Hagen took a superb hometown victory on stage four at the Tour of Norway to move into the race lead.
The Norwegian kept his cool on the uphill drag to the line to fend off Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) in a two-up sprint after 195 kilometres which saw the race blown to pieces.
The duo attacked on the final lap around Lillehammer, edging clear of an elite selection which was led home six seconds later by team-mate Lars-Petter Nordhaug in third.
The queen stage saw two climbs of the testing Reistadbakken to force time gaps in a race which, up to that point, had been decided on the slenderest of margins following three consecutive bunch sprints.
Team Sky worked hard during the day to peg back the early break, splitting the peloton in half at one point before the race detonated on the run for home.
The result means that heading into the final stage, in addition to holding both the points and young rider jerseys, Boasson Hagen has a lead of fourteen seconds over Clarke with Nordhaug eight seconds further back in third place.
On his home training roads the victory was understandably a special one for the Norwegian who paid tribute to both his home fans and the tireless work of his team-mates after the stage.
He said: “It’s really a dream come true. It was amazing to race today with everyone cheering for me along the whole stage. The team did a great job to control things during the day and it was great to sit behind them and see them doing that great job. Without them it would have been impossible.
“Lars-Petter also helped control things on the last climb when the attacks started. It was a big advantage for me to know all the descents and the corners and with the people cheering and my name all over the roads it made it even more special.
“It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow but the team is so strong so I think we can do a good job and try to take three jerseys. We’ll cross our fingers.”
As the peloton left Hamar the pressure was on the shoulders of Boasson Hagen who had come close to a victory in the first three stages of the race.
A tough parcours always looked set to shake up the overall standings with leader Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) ultimately unable to follow the moves as the pace ramped up.
A break of seven riders headed away early on but under the watchful eye of Team Sky and Lampre-ISD the gap was kept at a manageable distance before attacks began to fire off the front.
Seven riders fired off the front heading into the closing stages with Marco Marzano (Lampre-ISD) and Sergey Firsanov (RusVelo) doing their best to put time into their rivals.
Undeterred Nordhaug and Boasson Hagen worked hard to shut down the gaps before the latter held his nerve to claim the victory he wanted most of all.
The only blemish on a great day for Team Sky was the abandonment of Davide Appollonio, the young Italian forced to climb off during the day due to illness.
After the stage Race coach Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist summed up a special day for the team.
Arvesen said: "The whole week they’ve been riding fantastic without getting the victory but we always believed that we could. Today we didn’t have the jersey but we rode like we did, the guys did perfectly and Edvald finished it off."
Ljungvist continued: "The guys did things pretty much themselves. It started to split a bit first time up the climb but then on the second climb it really went.
"Lars-Petter did a great job of driving tempo and when he looked behind him there were not many guys around him. There were a few attacks but the team rode perfectly to control things. We came here with a plan and the guys stuck to it 100 per cent."
Both men were able to see first hand an incredible atmosphere around Lillehammer as fans flocked out in support of Boasson Hagen.
Ljungvist continued: "Today was like coming into Edvaldland! We went past his parent’s house and I think every single person was out along the road. There were apparently three times more people in the city today than live here.
"We are not home yet but we really wanted to be in yellow after today. With the team we have we will look to bring it home tomorrow."