Tour de France riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

Tour de France riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

Tour de France riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

The peloton passes through bales of hay after the farmer protest was brought to an end.

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

The Tour de France cycling race on Tuesday was briefly interrupted after French farmers tried to block the road.

Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert has shared a gruesome photo of his broken knee following withdrawal from the Tour de France.

Mitchelton-Scott experienced more rotten luck after Damien Howson withdrew from the race prior to the stage start after fracturing his hand in yesterday's crash.

Bales of hay blocked the road 30km into the 218km leg from Carcassonne to Bagneres De-Luchon.

Gilbert suffered a heavy fall on the descent of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, where Fabio Casartelli crashed and died during the 1995 Tour.

"I was lucky that it did not affect me too much, I had a bit of tingling in the back of the throat but I used some water to wash it out", said Thomas on the finish line in the spa town of Bagneres-de-Luchon, after keeping his overall lead intact.

Philippe Gilbert's injured leg immediately after the 16th stage of the Tour de France
Philippe Gilbert's injured leg immediately after the 16th stage of the Tour de France

The Quick-Step rider had been leading Stage 16 on Tuesday after a solo breakaway but crashed into a roadside wall and disappeared from sight after falling four metres into a verge.

Their field is the road, the road is open - we can not lock them in a swimming pool or a stadium or in a tennis court. "I was sad for [Yates] but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks".

The small group of farmers from the Aude department were protesting a planned reduction of European Union funding, according to French authorities. "When you come so close to winning a stage of the Tour, it's pretty devastating", added Yates, who won the young rider classification in the Tour two years ago.

Kangert was reeled in by King of the Mountain leader Julian Alaphilippe in the first climb of the day to Montée de Peyragudes, but held on to reach the top ahead of the Frenchman.

With 2.5 km to go, Roglic attacked for the second time but was quickly shut down by Thomas.

Froome is in second place and Tom Dumoulin is in third place.

This stage was just 65km long, but featured three towering climbs between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Col de Portet.

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