Bradley Wiggins and Michael Rogers are second and third respectively heading into Sunday's concluding time trial at the Tour de Romandie.
The Team Sky duo both finished in the front group at the end of the 184km fourth stage from Bulle to Sion as Luis León Sánchez won for the second day in a row to take the leader's yellow jersey from Wiggins.
The Rabobank rider will take a nine seconds advantage into the undulating 16.5km time trial around Crans-Montana, with world TT silver medallist Wiggins his closest challenger and three-time world champion Rogers just a further seven seconds back in third.
It sets up an absorbing finale as only 41 seconds separates the top 35 riders on the general classification, with Richie Porte one of those in 32nd place.
Team Sky's whole squad had once again produced an outstanding display to defend Wiggins' yellow jersey on what was the queen stage of the race.
A group of six riders had escaped from the peloton after 25 kilometres on the ascent of the Col des Mosses and, despite a block headwind, Team Sky made sure their advantage never went much above three minutes.
Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas, winner of the opening prologue, did much of the work on the front and with their job done they dropped out of the race before the final 50km which featured two category one climbs.
Their team-mates had to be vigilant throughout that testing finale and they reacted quickly when a dangerous-looking group of four riders broke clear of the main group just as the original escape group was splintering.
That quartet forced Team Sky to really put the hammer down between the 40km and 30km to go mark, with Danny Pate, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Chris Froome and Rogers combining to reel them in ahead of the final climb up to St-Martin.
The pace meant that only 50 riders or so were left by that point and a succession of attacks off the front were kept under control superbly by Porte who set the perfect tempo at the front of the main group.
Heading down the sweeping descent before the flat run-in to Sion, Wiggins was perfectly positioned in a 12-man selection up front and he was soon joined again by Porte and Rogers who helped keep it all together.
Rabobank were also there in numbers and they were rewarded with the stage win as Sánchez notched a clear-cut triumph in the sprint from Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) and Branislav Samoilav (Movistar).
It's now all about the final 16.5km on Sunday which includes a 4.3km drag up to Aminona which is graded as first category.
Before then there was a little time to reflect on what Sports Director Sean Yates labelled a "fantastic" team performance, telling us: “It was a bloody hard day and the team had to ride so hard.
"It was a fantastic display from them, possibly the best I’ve seen. Every single one of them did their role perfectly, starting with Cav and G on a hellishly windy section up the valley earlier on.
“All the other guys then did their bit to a ‘T’; other teams tried to throw everything at us but we controlled it so well and I think we’ll have earned plenty more respect.
"It’s not a bad position to be in going into the time trial, that’s for sure, and if Sánchez wins on the GC then he’ll have deserved it."
Chris Froome underlined the efforts the riders had put in when he admitted: "I'm feeling pretty tired to be honest and most of the other guys are feeling the same way as me - Brad's about the only one who is making it look easy at the moment. We've all been digging really deep this week.
"I'm really happy with the way it's all gone though - for the team and for myself. It's my first race for a while and things can only go in one direction now; I'm building up my form and think I'm very much on track."