(Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky was on the verge of winning the Tour of California after maintaining his lead of 30 seconds in the penultimate stage on Saturday.
The British rider finished safely in the peloton as Slovakian sprinter Peter Sagan took the 88.7 mile (142.8 kilometers) seventh stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena.
Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France champion, said that he had felt good throughout the stage but had been aware of the potential danger of a flat tire on the long descent shortly before the finish.
“I’m just glad another day’s down,” the 34-year-old told the NBC Sports Network. “You’ve got to keep your wits about you.
“That descent was pretty fast (and) it’s sort of going through your mind that a puncture now and it could be over (because) at those speeds you’re not going to get back in the race.”
Cannondale’s Sagan outsprinted Norway’s Thor Hushovd, of BMC Racing, to take his first stage win of the week in three hours, 24 minutes and 33 seconds.
Wiggins recorded the same time as Australian Rohan Dennis, the Team Garmin-Sharp rider, who remained second in the general classification.
The hilly 76.1 mile (122.4 kilometers) final stage on Sunday will start and finish in Thousand Oaks.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes