Tour De France Briefly Halted After Riders Are Pepper-Sprayed Amid Protest

Chris Froome

Despite the race stoppage, the farmers say their protest was only partially successful, and accused the police of using damaging sprays.

The race remains in the Pyrenees on Wednesday for what could be the most challenging stage of the Tour, a 65-kilometre leg from Bagneres-de Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet that features three grueling climbs, including an uphill finish _ and hardly a stretch of flat road.

Four-time champion Chris Froome was among several riders who have had their eyes treated for tear gas or pepper spray sprayed on the peloton.

As the race was stopped, TV footage showed riders visibly shaken with some competitors using water to wash out their eyes while others sought out their team cars for medical assistance.

Stage 16 of Le Tour 2018 sees the riders make their way 218 kilometers from Carcassonne to Bagnres-de-Luchon. Video from the scene is included at the bottom of the page: it was chaos for a few minutes, but police acted quickly and efficiently and helped the riders across. Most farmers here rely on European Union financial aid to get by, and if they lose this classification, they fear they will go out of business.

Tuesday's protest was the latest incident in what has been an eventful Tour de France, as fans have expressed outrage about Froome's participation.

Turkey: Ex-footballer, lawmaker supports Mesut Ozil
Authorities in the town have removed a street sign on "Mesut Ozil Avenue' of the playmaker wearing a Germany national team jersey. The third-generation Turkish-German was born in Gelsenkirchen and was a key member of his country's 2014 World Cup-winning side.

He said: "Our objective was the stop the Tour de France, so that we could get a response".

Belgian Philippe Gilbert was forced to withdraw from the Tour de France on Tuesday with a fractured left kneecap after a spectacular crash into a ravine on stage 16.

"Do not add to danger for the cyclists", Prudhomme said.

Thomas holds a 1 minute, 39 second lead over Sky teammate Chris Froome, with Tom Dumoulin third, 1:50 back. "I was sad for [Yates] but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks".

"I was not affected because I was not in the first 10 of the group", he said.

Race organizers have had trouble controlling crowds with fans getting out of hand on the most famous climbs of the Tour.

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