The Italian, who took second place in Oman four years ago, held on to the overall leader’s red jersey 15 seconds ahead of Frenchman Romain Bardet with Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang 24 seconds back.
For Kristoff it was a second stage win of the tour as he edged home ahead of Zico Waeytens and Soren Kragh Andersen.
“It was very important for me to try to get a win straightaway,” said Nibali after his win. “It’s always nice to win early in the season, especially as there are important races coming up in the weeks to come.
“I’m happy with this win, especially seeing as I came very close to winning here before only to lose out by a second [in 2012].”
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