CYCLING

Kristoff too strong for Sagan in 12th stage of Tour de France

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 12:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 12:13am

Norway’s Alexander Kristoff beat Peter Sagan in a sprint to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France, a 185.5-km ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne on Thursday.

Kristoff timed his effort perfectly to win with a comfortable margin to leave Slovakian Sagan, who looks set to win the green jersey for points classification, still without a win on the Tour this year.

French champion Arnaud Demare took third place and Italian Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

A five-man breakaway was reduced to four when Spain’s David de la Cruz went down hard on a bend and pulled out with a suspected broken collarbone.

Then they were just two, Dutchman Sebastian Langeveld and Simon Clarke of Australia on their own ahead of a bunch led by Europcar and Giant-Shimano who were looking to set up their sprinters for the finale.

Europcar played another card, however, with Frenchmen Perrig Quemeneur and Cyril Gauthier attacking to join Clarke after the Australian had shaken off Langeveld.

But the peloton led by Giant-Shimano reined them in with a few kilometres left.

The peloton went through Sorbiers, where the late Kazakh rider Andrey Kivilev was buried after he died following a crash in March 2003 during the Paris-Nice race.

His death prompted the International Cycling Union to implement the mandatory use of helmets in all races.

Friday’s 13th stage takes the peloton to the Alps with a mountaintop finish in Chamrousse.