Alaphilippe wins protest-hit stage, Thomas keeps Tour lead

25 July, 2018, 22:25 | Author: Marlene Myers
  • Tour de France halted after riders are hit with pepper spray fired by police

BAGNERES DE-LUCHON, FRANCE-Four-time champion Chris Froome was among riders whose eyes needed treatment for tear gas when a farmer's protest interrupted the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.

Police removed the obstacles from the road, but were forced to use tear gas to make the farmers disperse.

The overall standings were unchanged with Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome and third-placed Tom Dumoulin each crossing 8 minutes, 52 seconds behind.

Video footage of the incident appeared to show liquid being blown back into the advancing peloton after being sprayed by an officer from France's national gendarmerie against a protestor.

He avoided injury and is set to start stage 18 on Thursday.

Former world champion Philippe Gilbert got back on his bike to continue stage 16 on the Tour de France despite a spectacular crash that sent him flying over a wall.

Bales of hay blocked the road 30 kilometres into the 218-kilometre leg from Carcassonne to Bagneres De-Luchon.

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Simon Clarke of Australia cleans his eyes after tear gas was used by policemen against the farmers who protested during the Tour de France cycling race between Carcassonne and Bagneres-de-Luchon, France, July 24, 2018.

"I knew the finale was tricky", Alaphilippe said.

Quick-Step cyclist Julian Alaphilippe won the stage.

"Please respect the riders, even if you have a cause to fight for", said Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

The small group of farmers from the Ariege department were protesting the reduction of European Union funding, French media reported. It was the Colombian's first stage win of this year's Tour. "I've took more risks on more technical descents before and never had any problems".

Quick-Step bosses panicked when Gilbert went over the wall - it was on the same descent, albeit several kilometres below, that Italian Fabio Casartelli died in a awful crash in 1995.

His team said that after further tests at a hospital in Toulouse, the fracture was discovered, meaning he had to pull out of the race.

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