Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Tour de France boss slams protesters after tear gas halts race

Geraint Thomas took a huge step towards his first Grand Tour victory on stage 17 Geraint Thomas took a huge step towards his first Grand Tour victory on stage 17
Eugene Bates | 25 July, 2018, 20:30

The Quick-Step Cycling team documented the sequence, reiterating that police used the tear gas to clear the protesters, but it ended up getting in the eyes of the cyclists.

- The race was neutralized on July 24 after tear gas was used as protesting farmers attempted to block the route.

Farmers rolled large hay bales into the road 29 kilometres into Tuesday's stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-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.

Overall race leader Geraint Thomas was among the unintended casualties of the spray, and was seen rubbing his face in discomfort after the incident. "I was sad for (Yates) but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks".

The race was stopped completely while several riders received medical treatment from the doctor's vehicle at the rear of the peloton.

There was a delay of nearly 15 minutes and some riders sought medical treatment, after they were hit with tear gas by the police, the BBC reports.

Do not add to danger for the cyclists.

Nairo Quintana won stage 17 with a fine solo attack
Nairo Quintana won stage 17 with a fine solo attack

The yellow jersey also remains in safe hands, Geraint Thomas rolling home in the peloton alongside Team Sky teammate, and closest competitor, Chris Froome.

Four-time champ Chris Froome said he "just felt throat and nose were burning, eyes were burning afterwards".

The small group of farmers from the Aude department were protesting a planned reduction of European Union funding, according to French authorities.

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

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

Froome, who began the day one minute 39 seconds behind Thomas in second, faded on the last climb to lose further time and drop to third overall, 2:31 behind leader Thomas, while Sunweb's Dumoulin, who crossed in fifth, is second overall, 1:59 back.

Race organizers have struggled to deal with angry fans protesting Froome's participation.

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