Protest delays Tour de France; cyclists accidentally tear-gassed in eyes

Chris Froome

The incident happened 29km (18 miles) into the stage linking Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon. 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.

Overall race leader Geraint Thomas was among the unintended casualties of the spray, and was seen rubbing his face in discomfort after the incident.

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.

The 218km stage with a finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon and featuring two first category climbs in the Pyrenees restarted at 12.36 pm (10.36 am GMT) after an interruption lasting around quarter of an hour.

The most feared stage of this year's Tour de France is underway.

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Despite finishing around 9 minutes behind Alaphilippe, Thomas retains the yellow jersey, maintaining his 1 minute and 39 second advantage over teammate Chris Froome in general classification.

Team boss Dave Brailsford said they will now plan to make sure Froome joins Thomas on the Tour de France podium: "He's not out of it necessariy, there's a big mountain day to come, and the time trial".

It will be a stage with three climbs, 3,000 metres of positive elevation and is only 65 kilometres long!

Stage 16 was eventually won by Quick-Step's French rider Julian Alaphilippe, who profited from Adam Yates' fall on the final descent to claim his second stage win of Le Tour 2018.

"I crashed and it was all my fault".

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

According to the Associated Press, the hay bales were thrown into the road ahead of the race's lead pack by farmers facing an even more grueling challenge - the reduction of European Union funding.

Quintana's victory came despite two early mechanicals on a 65km stage - the shortest road stage in the Tour for over 30 years - that was created to be explosive from the start.

Yates was quickly back on his bike, and followed home Bahrain-Merida's Gorka Izagirre to finish third.

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