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Tour De France Riders Accidentally Hit With Tear Gas Meant For Farmers' Protest

By John Carlo A. Villaruel
on Jul 25, 2018 08:30 AM EDT
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The Tour de France suffered a screeching halt on Tuesday after some riders were accidentally hit by a tear gas during the 16th stage.

The police used tear gas to ward off the protesting farmers who blocked the road with hay bales. According to multiple sources within the police, the farmers put together the protest with the hopes of being noticed by Stephane Travert who is the Minister of Agriculture in France.

"Looks like the tear gas used by the police on the farmers ended up getting to the eyes of some riders," the Quick-Step Cycling team wrote on Twitter.

However, the race organizers decided to resume the race after a 15-minute interruption. The Stage 16 of the competition is a 218-kilometer race that started in Carcassonne and concluded at Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Froome Receives Medical Treatment

Four-time champion Chris Froome was among the riders who needed treatment after being hit by a tear gas in the eye. Froome who was treated with eye drops has been receiving the jeers from angry fans after using twice the eligible level of salbutamol in his triumph at the Spanish Vuelta last September.

The 33-year-old Froome who was a subject of a nine-month investigation by the UCI faced suspension but his ban was lifted just before the Tour opened earlier in July. Froome said that spectators have thrown punches at him and tried to make him fall off his bike during the race. Earlier in the race, the organizers decided to prohibit the use of smoke flares after fans unloaded flares to the riders in the race to the ski resort of Alpe d'Huez.

Currently, Froome is sitting in second place in the general classification with a time of 1 minute and 39 seconds, which is behind race leader and Sky teammate Geraint Thomas. Thomas along with world champion Peter Sagan were also among those affected by the chemical. Sagan cleaned his eyes by pouring water over his face.

Alaphilippe Wins Stage

French rider Julian Alaphilippe capitalized on the fall of Adam Yates to win the 16th stage of the race. It marked the second stage win for the Quick-Step rider in this year's Le Tour. It was also the second crash in the stage after Philippe Gilbert stumbled into a wall as he lost control of his bike.

Nonetheless, Gilbert was able to finish the stage. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali who won the 2014 edition of the race was also knocked off his bike by fans and was forced to withdraw from the race after suffering injuries. The competition which opened last July 7 will conclude in Paris on Sunday.

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