Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) launched away from the bunch late to claim a half-bike-length sprint win of stage 12 of the Tour de France on Thursday.
The Norwegian out-kicked Peter Sagan (Cannondale) at the end of 185.5km ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne. It was the fourth time Sagan has finished second at this Tour. Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) was third. There was no change in the overall standings, with Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali continuing to lead Richie Porte (Team Sky) by 2:23, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) third, at 2:47.
Sagan’s consolation prize was yet another large helping of green jersey points. The Slovakian now leads second-placed Bryan Coquard (Europcar) 341 to 189 points, meaning barring disaster, the competition is all but over.
The day’s main breakaway included Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Seché), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE), David de la Cruz (Netapp-Endura), and Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin-Sharp), who saw the abandonment of his team’s leader, Andrew Talansky, before the stage started. Meanwhile, De la Cruz crashed out of the break and abandoned with a broken collarbone.
Friday, the Tour heads into the Alps, with a 197.5km stage from Saint-Etienne to the hors categorie summit finish atop Chamrousse, an 18.2km climb that averages 7.3 percent. See stage 12 results here.
The Astana team bus is starting to look like a kid’s toy store thanks to all the stuffed lions awarded to team leader Vincenzo Nibali. The Italian’s received one on each day he’s been in the yellow jersey. Photo by Graham Watson
Stage 12 was a transition stage that brought the race to the base of the Alps. On Friday, the real climbing begins. Photo by Graham Watson
Katusha’s Luca Paolini is the only rider sporting a full beard at this year’s race. Photo by Graham Watson
American Tejay van Garderen (center) had a drama free day to maintain his sixth place in the overall standings. Photo by Graham Watson
The main breakaway of the day did its best to stay away, but save for a little extra TV time, it was all for naught. Photo by Graham Watson
Team Giant-Shimano kept the pace high at the front of the bunch, reeling in the breakaway and then trying to set up the finish for its sprinters. They got the first part right, but missed out on a stage win. Photo by Graham Watson
The Sky team kept GC hope Richie Porte surrounded and out of trouble. On Friday, though, Porte will have to rely on his own legs, as the race heads into the Alps. Photo by Graham Watson
Race leader Vincenzo Nibali seems pleased that lunch was at hand. Photo by Graham Watson
Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff took the stage win ahead of Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, who finished second for the fourth time this Tour. Photo by Graham Watson
Katusha’s Joaquin Rodriguez held his place atop the King of the Mountains standings. Photo by Graham Watson