Tour de France riders hit with cloud of tear gas

Tour de France riders affected by spray when police broke up a farmers' protest

Tour de France riders affected by spray when police broke up a farmers' protest

Protesting French farmers brought the Tour de France to a temporary standstill earlier today, with bales of hay reportedly being thrown onto the cycling route - prompting a swift reaction from local police. Tour organizers said police used tear gas to disperse the protesters as the peloton approached.

But the spray apparently drifted into the riders' path, causing chaos - with the race briefly stopped.

After a 15-minute interval the race resumed with a short neutralised section before the flag was dropped once again 33km into the stage.

Bales of hay blocked the road 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) into the 218-kilometer stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon. - The race was halted for several minutes on July 24 after tear gas was used as protesting farmers attempted to block the route.

Thomas was pictured pouring water on his face as the race was stopped for riders to receive treatment at the doctor's vehicle.

It is not the first time that protesters have interrupted a prominent race, the most memorable incident happening in the 1984 Paris-Nice, when French great Bernard Hinault punched one of the demonstrators. Four-time champion Chris Froome and race leader Geraint Thomas were two of the cyclists affected.

The Tour de France was halted by protesters on Tuesday afternoon
The Tour de France was halted by protesters on Tuesday afternoon

Alaphilippe, 26, was able to milk the applause from the crowd as he entered the finish town of Bagneres-de-Luchon guaranteed of victory following his daredevil descent.

But the 25-year-old Lancastrian crashed with 6.5km to go, allowing Quick-Step Floors' Julian Alaphilippe to zip by and take his second stage win of this Tour.

Race organizers have struggled to deal with angry fans protesting Froome's participation.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters Police officers carry a protester off the road on Tuesday as cyclists with the Tour de France pass.

Just when you thought this Tour de France had thrown up all the drama it could, what with the booing and the spitting and the crashing and the accusations of French cultural bias.

Froome, who remained in second place overall, 1 minute, 39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas, said the effects of the gas did not last long.

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