The big Norwegian sprinter came off the wheel of John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and managed to power past in the final metres to take the victory, his first in the Tour de France since the 2014.
"It's a great win. I'm super happy to win on the Champs-Elysees, it has been a dream since I was a young sprinter," Kristoff said after the stage. "To finally achieve it was a special feeling to be sure.
"It's four years since I won at the Tour, and the Norwegian press is always asking when I'm going to win again, and to finally manage to achieve it is a very nice feeling."
Kristoff had a decent start to the season, with two World Tour wins and two other victories to his name. He also came fourth at Milan-San Remo, but couldn't recapture the cobbled classics form that saw him win the 2015 Tour of Flanders.
"I was not really happy with my spring," said Kristoff, "and for sure to win a stage of the Tour more or less saves my season.
"The spring was a bit challenging, I’ve only had four victories up until now and this was my fifth. It's less than I usually have at this time of the year but to win at the Tour de France makes my season more or less a success now so I'm very glad to win today. I've got some important races coming up but I will just try to enjoy this.'
Kristoff had already finished second (Stage 13) and third (Stage 18) already in the 2018 Tour, but hadn't quite been able to crack it for that elusive victory. He benefited from the abandonment of a number of pure sprinters in the mountains, with the tough Norwegian able to stick it out through some of the tougher climbing days.
"I've been close many times but never managed to beat the faster guys like Cavendish, Greipel or Kittel," said Kristoff. "But today they're not here - they're out after the mountains - and today I was the fastest so I'm super happy."