French farmers bring Tour de France to standstill with protest

French farmers bring Tour de France to standstill with protest

French farmers bring Tour de France to standstill with protest

The 16th stage of Le Tour was temporarily halted in the Carcasonne region after a group of farmers threw hay bales on the course. 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.

Tour leader Geraint Thomas and four-time champion Chris Froome were among those impacted by the gas, respectively seen pouring water into his eyes and applying eye drops to counter the chemical.

"A stage a little atypical in the Tour de France because it will be extremely short", Philippe Mauduit, sports director of UAE Team Emirates, told the Tour de France's official website.

Dan Martin finished second on the brutal stage 17 of the Tour de France behind victor Nairo Quintana, but Geraint Thomas kept a firm grip of the leader's yellow jersey.

After a 15-minute break, the race resumed.

Mitchelton-Scott's Yates led on the descent into Bagneres-de-Luchon after attacking three kilometres before the summit of the Col du Portillon, cresting the mountain with a 22-second advantage.

Frenchman Pierre Latour, who wears the white jersey for the best young rider, said he noticed police were using tear gas when he arrived at the road blockade.

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This summer Geraint Thomas is leading, which I'm sure you all knew because since the World Cup finished you've had nothing else in your life.

"Do not add to danger for the cyclists", Prudhomme said. "The riders' job is extremely unsafe, they are taking risks every day, people should not block the road, no matter what causes they are fighting for".

"I thought I was broken everywhere", said Gilbert, a teammate of Alaphilippe's on the Quick-Step team.

"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert reflected.

Alaphilippe also won the 10th stage and is wearing the polka-dot jersey of the mountains classification leader.

But with only 5 kilometers of descent to go, Yates crashed turning a corner and could only watch as Alaphilippe flew past.

The drama is set to continue on Wednesday as riders take on the challenging Stage 17 from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet.

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