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BOURG-EN-BRESSE, France -- American rider Andrew Talansky withdrew from the Tour de France on Thursday, a day after riding for several hours with excruciating back pain.
Talansky says he's "absolutely heartbroken to leave the Tour de France" because "I built my season around the Tour and the team has supported me every step of the way."
The 25-year-old Talansky finished last in Wednesday's 11th stage, more than 30 minutes behind winner Tony Gallopin, even getting off his bike at one stage, clutching his lower back and sitting down for a few minutes to ease the pain. He hoped a night's rest would resolve the problem "but it proved to be too much."
Team Garmin-Sharp doctor Kevin Sprouse added that "Andrew is suffering the cumulative effects" of crashes in consecutive stages last week.
Talansky said on Twitter he planned to come back strong.
Thank you to all my friends, family, team and the incredible fans for keeping me going as long as possible during the Tour.- Andrew Talansky (@andrewtalansky) July 17, 2014
Time to recover, regroup, and come back strong. Here is my statement from today: http://t.co/ErLlhndkQh- Andrew Talansky (@andrewtalansky) July 17, 2014
In Thursday's action, Alexander Kristoff won the 12th stage in a sprint while Vincenzo Nibali maintained the yellow jersey.
Kristoff, a Norwegian with the Katusha team, emerged from the barreling pack which overtook a pair of breakaway riders with less than seven kilometers to go.
The mostly flat, 185.5-kilometer (115.5-mile) ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne in southeastern France was well suited for a sprint finish.
Kristoff, who won the Milan-San Remo race this year, pointed his fingers skyward and shouted as he crossed the line -- pretty much without any of his Katusha teammates: Sagan's Cannondale team and Giant-Shimano took turns leading the pack at the end. But Kristoff timed his burst perfectly.
"I won, finally, and I am really happy," Kristoff said of his first Tour stage win, adding he had been second in two previous sprints. "It was time to win.
"In Norway, there was a lot of pressure on me: I am the only Norwegian this year!"
The top standings didn't change. Nibali holds a lead of 2 minutes, 23 seconds over Australian Richie Porte, and 2:47 over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.