Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

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

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

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

The overall standings were unchanged with Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome and third-placed Tom Dumoulin each crossing 8 minutes, 52 seconds behind. Froome was treated with eye drops and Sagan poured water over his face to clean his eyes.

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"One of them things", Yates said after the stage.

Froome sits second in the general classification, 60.39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas.

"I just felt my throat and nose were burning, eyes were burning afterward", Froome said.

"I'm in a lot of pain and my knee is badly damaged, but I don't think I've broken anything, fortunately".

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Frenchman Pierre Latour, who wears the white jersey for the best young rider, said he noticed police were using tear gas when he arrived at the road blockade. They must be respected, they take enough risks for their job.

Gilbert, who rides for Quick Step, was 57.2 km from the finish and in the lead of the race when disaster struck.

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

Unhappy farmers had organized the protest because they "wanted to be seen" by France's Minister of Agriculture, Stphane Travert, according to a police source.

This Tour has been marred by incidents.

Chris Froome, who has come under added scrutiny following investigations into alleged doping, which he was later cleared of, was spat at by fans on Alpe d'Huez, while 2014 Vincenzo Nibali saw his participation ended after clashing with a fan on the same mountain. He has been targeted by race fans over allegations on doping over the use of asthma medicine, with some throwing liquid over the rider and others spitting on him and slapping him.

Ahead of the Tour, 33-year-old Froome had been under an anti-doping cloud after he was found to have more than the permissible level of asthma drug salbutamol in his urine at last September's Vuelta a Espaa. "The morale's pretty damaged right now, you know, when you come so close to winning a stage of the Tour it's pretty devastating not just for me but for the team".

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