Saint-Etienne, France (4E Sports) – Norway’s Alexander Kristoff beat Peter Sagan in a sprint to the finish line to clinch Stage 12 of the Tour de France Thursday.
Kristoff finished the 185.5-kilometer journey from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne in four hours, 32 minutes and 11 seconds en route to his first Tour de France stage victory.
“I can imagine my family, my friends and other people being happy. I’ve been in Norway watching the Tour de France so many times so I know that feeling of watching a Norwegian winning and I’m the only Norwegian in the Tour de France this year,” he said.
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali kept the yellow jersey after he placed 24th with the same time as Kristoff.
He leads Australia’s Richie Porte by two minutes and 23 seconds as the tour heads for two days in the Alps. Spain’s Alejandro Valverde placed 33rd Thursday and still sits third overall, 2:47 behind Nibali.
“It was the typical flat French stage, very difficult with a lot of curves and downhills, and a bunch sprint at the end. Tomorrow, it’ll be another story,” said Nibali.
“I’m sure our rivals will try to attack, but on the other hand, if I can gain some seconds, I’ll go for it,” he added.
Stage 13 will be the Tour’s first day in the Alps. It features a 197.5-kilometer ride from Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse, including three climbs.