Tour de France boss slams protesters after tear gas halts race

25 July, 2018, 17:48 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • French farmers bring Tour de France to standstill with protest

"Looks like the tear gas used by the police on the farmers ended up getting to the eyes of some riders", tweeted the Quick-Step Cycling team.

Thomas and green jersey wearer Peter Sagan were some those seen washing their eyes after the incident, which brought the race to a stop for 15 minutes.

Police are understood to have used the unknown substance in a bid to disperse a group of farmers demonstrating during Stage 16 of the race.

This Tour has been marred by incidents as race organizers struggle to deal with angry fans protesting against Froome's participation.

This latest interruption came two days after a rider was banned from the race for punching an opponent in the face, which also seems less than ideal when you're riding a bike up a mountain.

The race continued after the brief hiatus, Reuters says.

Quick-Step cyclist Julian Alaphilippe won the stage.

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Froome is looking to win his fourth consecutive Tour de France.

The farmers' protest occurred 30 kilometres into the 218-kilometre (135.5-mile) leg from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

With Team Sky dominating the Tour in recent years and easily chasing down any attacks, the shorter stages should lessen the British team's ability to maintain control of the race with attacks expected right from the start.

Riders wait on the road after a farmer's protest interrupts stage 16 of the Tour de France.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme condemned the farmers' action and demanded more respect for riders. "I was sad for [Yates] but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks". "People should not block the road, no matter what causes they are fighting for".

Spanish rider Gorka Izaguirre finished second, 15 seconds behind, and Yates crossed third with the same time.

But with only 5 kilometers of descent to go, Yates crashed turning a corner and could only watch as Alaphilippe flew past. He had been 57.2 kilometres from the finish and in the lead of the 218km-long stage at the time of the crash.

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