Riders Sprayed With Tear Gas as Protesters Interrupt Tour de France - NECN

Riders Sprayed With Tear Gas as Protesters Interrupt Tour de France

A farmer's protest temporarily halted the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday

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    Riders Sprayed With Tear Gas as Protesters Interrupt Tour de France
    MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
    Riders clean their eyes after tear gas or pepper spray was sprayed on the peloton when a farmer's protest interrupted during the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Carcassonne and Bagneres-de-Luchon, southwestern France, on July 24, 2018.

    What to Know

    • A farmer's protest interrupted the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday

    • Tear gas used by police to disperse protesters inadvertently got into the eyes of some riders

    • The stage resumed after a 15-minute delay

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

    Bales of hay blocked the road 30 kilometers into the 218-kilometer leg from Carcassonne to Bagneres De-Luchon. Tour organizers said police used tear gas to disperse the protesters as the peloton approached.

    Froome, race leader Geraint Thomas, and world champion Peter Sagan appeared to be among those affected by the chemical, and were treated with eye drops.

    The stage resumed after a 15-minute delay.

    This Tour has been marred by incidents.

    Race organizers have struggled to deal with angry fans protesting Froome's participation. After fans threw flares at riders in the climb to the ski resort of Alpe d'Huez, Tour organizers banned the use of smoke flares for the rest of the race.

    Froome raced all season under the cloud of a potential ban for using twice the permitted level of salbutamol during his victory at the Spanish Vuelta in September. He was cleared only just before the Tour. He said he has been repeatedly spat at since the race started, and spectators have punched him and tried to make him fall off his bike.

    Froome sits second in the general classification, 1 minute, 39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas.