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Tour de France halted as riders accidentally tear-gassed

The Tour de France had to be stopped temporarily during stage 16 when the peloton was sprayed during a protest by French farmers, with several riders needing medical treatment.

Hay bales were thrown across the road 29km into the 218km stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

TV pictures showed a policeman using a spray on protesters which then blew into the peloton, with riders pulling over to douse their eyes with water.

There was a delay of about 15 minutes.

There was a short neutralised section before racing began again properly at the 33km mark.

Briton Geraint Thomas, who is in the leader’s yellow jersey, and world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia were among those to be affected.

Several riders went to the doctor’s car at the back of the peloton for treatment.

Tour leader Geraint Thomas — as well as several other riders — was seen rinsing his eyes with water as the cyclists waited behind the race organizers’ cars for the stage to restart.

Stage 16 of Le Tour 2018 sees the riders make their way 218 kilometers from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

“After a 15-minute-long interruption caused by protesters, the race is back on,” tweeted the Tour’s Twitter feed.

The Tour feed also posted a tweet warning spectators to “respect the riders,” as endangering them can lead to up to three years in prison.

A social media post by the Quick-Step Cycling team read: “Looks like the tear gas used by the police on the farmers ended up getting to the eyes of some riders.”

Speaking to ITV 4, the manager of the Mitchelton-Scott team said it was pepper spray.

TNT Sport

Photo Credit: Le Tour de France


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