Police accidentally tear gas several Tour de France riders amid farmers' protest

Tyler Owen
July 25, 2018

Police then used a spray to tackle some of the protesters as the race approached, and it appeared to get into the eyes of a number of riders.

Police officers used tear gas to disperse the protesters ― and physically carried others away ― but some of the chemicals ended up getting blasted downwind into athletes' faces, Reuters reported.

Some riders were accidentally hit by it and were seen rinsing their eyes with water, or requesting assistance at the doctor's auto at the back of the peloton.

According to Agence France-Presse, the bales of hay caused a stoppage about 16 miles into the stage's 135-mile route as farmers protested a decline in state aid. 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.

Among the riders affected by the tear gas was Team Sky's overall leader Geraint Thomas, who was pictured rubbing his nose following the incident. Crucially for general classification leader Thomas, none of his yellow jersey contenders were involved in the breakaway.

Dan Martin finished second while Thomas finished third, pulling ahead of Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic and Team Sky teammate Chris Froome in the final kilometer.

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The stage resumed after a 15-minute delay.

British rider Chris Froome, whose participation in this year's race has been controversial due to a positive drug test for the banned substance salbutamol, was one of the riders affected by the gas. They take enough risks already.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme condemned the farmers' action and demanded more respect for riders.

The small group of farmers from the Ariege department were protesting the reduction of European Union funding, French media reported.

"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert reflected.

Tour de France cyclist Philippe Gilbert shook off a terrifying fall that launched him over the side of a stone wall in what was a hectic day at the race on Tuesday.

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