Tour de France riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

25 July, 2018, 22:25 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Tour de France halted after riders hit by pepper spray fired by police

BAGNERES DE-LUCHON, FRANCE-Four-time champion Chris Froome was among riders whose eyes needed treatment for tear gas when a farmer's protest interrupted the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.

Tour organisers said police used tear gas to disperse the protesters as the peloton approached.

"A stage a little atypical in the Tour de France because it will be extremely short", Philippe Mauduit, sports director of UAE Team Emirates, told the Tour de France's official website.

The Tour de France, which began on July 7, will finish in Paris on Sunday.

The 218km stage with a finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon and featuring two first category climbs in the Pyrenees restarted at 12.36 pm (10.36 am GMT) after an interruption lasting around quarter of an hour.

Paris - Defending champion Chris Froome nearly crashed out of the Tour de France - after being knocked off his bike when an overzealous policeman mistook him for a fan on stage 17 Wednesday.

The main contenders crossed the line in a group some nine minutes after Alaphilippe to mean there is no change at the top of the general classification.

They blocked the narrow country road the cyclists were to cross by using tractors and hay bales.

Tour de France halted after riders hit by pepper spray fired by police
Tour de France stopped after pepper spray hits riders during roadside protest

Great Britain's Geraint Thomas, right, wearing the leader's yellow jersey, and other riders wait for the race to resume.

Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert was leading when he crashed earlier in the stage while descending from the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, hitting a wall and flipping off his bike spectacularly.

"The last few days I felt really good, which is a good sign", said Martin.

French rider Julian Alaphilippe has been the king of the mountains so far and could add to Tuesday's Stage 16 victory. I'm sad for Yates who crashed but it could have happened to me. "The riders' job is extremely unsafe, they are taking risks every day, people should not block the road, no matter what causes they are fighting for".

"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert reflected.

This stage was just 65km long, but featured three towering climbs between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Col de Portet.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin occupies third, 11 seconds off Froome.

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