Tour de France halted; riders inadvertently tear-gassed

Tour de France halted; riders inadvertently tear-gassed

They were caused by the liberal use of tear gas by members of the gendarmerie who were attempting to disperse a bunch of angry French farmers.

Four-time champion Froome, race leader Geraint Thomas, and world champion Peter Sagan were among those affected by the chemical.

A gendarme, left, sprays tear gas at protesters as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route of the Tour de France.

The Tour de France is several weeks of gruelling cycling and a test of strength, both physical and mental, that it's any wonder people come out alive doing it. Philippe Gilbert managed to break his knee cap and cycle for another 60km.

There was a delay of nearly 15 minutes and some riders sought medical treatment, after they were hit with tear gas by the police, the BBC reports.

Froome sits second in the general classification, 1 minute, 39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas.

Protesting farmers had blocked the road with hay bales, leading police to spray them with CS gas.

Riders react after riding through tear gas during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, between Carcassonne and Bagneres-de-Luchon, southwestern France, on July 24, 2018.

Downhills were tricky on Tuesday and former world champion Philippe Gilbert went spectacularly over a low stone wall in the descent from the Col du Portet d'Aspet.

Tanel Kangert Astana Tour de France 2018

It will be a stage with three climbs, 3,000 metres of positive elevation and is only 65 kilometres long!

Eventual stage victor Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) hotly pursued the Brit, and perhaps the pressure of the descent combined with a dampness on the road forced a tumble.

"I crashed and it was all my fault".

The small group of farmers from the Ariege department were protesting the reduction of European Union funding, French media reported.

Their field is the road, the road is open - we can not lock them in a swimming pool or a stadium or in a tennis court. "I was sad for (Yates) but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks". It was the Colombian's first stage win of this year's Tour.

"This isn't how I wanted to finish my Tour and leaving it like this really hurts", Gilbert said.

Alaphilippe, who was already gaining ground on Yates, quickly passed the British rider and had time to celebrate before the finish, smiling at the crowd and shaking his head in disbelief.

Martin came in 28 seconds behind him and Thomas finished third a further 19 seconds back to single himself out as Team Sky's leader.

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