Tour riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

Tour riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

Tour riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

Two key crashes on risky descents.

The overall standings were unchanged.

With Welshman Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey and four-time champion Chris Froome in second place 1 minute, 39 seconds back, Sky were in an optimal position as they headed into the Pyrenees for three consecutive stages starting yesterday.

Bales of hay blocked the road 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) into the 218-kilometer stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

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.

"We've seen the finals of them all", added Thomas, whose bid to become the first Welsh champion of the Tour could be tempered by Froome's ambitions for a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.

"I don't think it's going to stop - I'm not too optimistic on that front", he said of their hostile reception around France.

It is just the latest incident in a long line if disciplinary mis-steps from Moscon, who was suspended for six weeks previous year after racially abusing fellow rider Kevin Reza.

Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said that while Bernal needs to improve his endurance, he expects even bigger things from him.

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"We're trying to remain dignified, we're trying to not get distracted by it", he said.

"It's interesting. We raced in Italy and Chris's case was open when we were at the Tour of Italy and the Italians were fantastic, to be fair to them".

The small group of farmers from the Aude department were protesting a planned reduction of European Union funding, according to French authorities.

"A cyclist's job is unsafe as it is", said Prudhomme.

Froome needs to make time up on the world time trial champion somewhere, though, as he can not sit comfortably in second place with just an 11-second cushion given there is a race against the clock to come on stage 20.

Points leader Peter Sagan strengthened his grip on the classification with a fourth-placed finish, Alaphilippe having passed Stuyven for second in the final meters. They take enough risks already. But when the legs flagged on another teammate, he went on for another three kilometers and set a pace that fellow Colombian and two-time Tour runner-up Nairo Quintana couldn't match.

A bittersweet day for Quick-Step Floors also saw Philippe Gilbert - who was part of the day's large 47-man break alongside team-mate Alaphilippe - crash over a parapet on the descent of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet.

"The riders on the Tour, and champions of the Tour, must be respected, as they are by the large majority of the public".

Brailsford, who has previously been questioned by a British parliamentary inquiry following allegations Sky had breached ethical guidelines by abusing the legal use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for their riders, hit out at treatment of his team on Monday.

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