Colombian Nairo Quintana won the stage to ride into second while Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez’s third saw him leapfrog from fifth to third, ahead of Alberto Contador who started the day in second.
Contador fell back from the lead pack ahead on the final climb and is now more than seven minutes behind Froome.
Froome said “this really is amazing” after guaranteeing himself the title.
“I can’t quite believe that I am in this position,” he said. “This really is amazing. I am a bit lost for words. I still have to roll into Paris on Sunday but this is it, the general classification is sorted out now, and to finish it off like this is really special.
“It was quite hard to stay on top of it with 3km to go, when it sank it that I had achieved what I needed to. I couldn’t follow the wheels of the others because I was so overwhelmed by the feeling that I had done it.”
Froome’s success follows his second last year behind teammate Bradley Wiggins.
He will don the canary yellow for tomorrow’s virtually ceremonial stage from Versaille to Paris.
Froome attacked throughout the day in a bid to take the stage win glory, but couldn’t match Quintana in the final miles to take his first stage win in his first Tour.
Tomorrow’s final Stage 21 ride, starting at 4.45pm, will involve Froome coasting with his teammates into the Champs Elysees with champagne.
Still racing though will be Brit Mark Cavendish having a crack at winning his fifth straight final stage.
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