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Alaphilippe wins protest-hit stage, Thomas keeps Tour lead

25 July 2018

The Tour de France temporarily came to a standstill Tuesday after protesters stormed a road during Stage 16, leading to a number of riders inadvertently getting hit with what appeared to be pepper spray or tear gas.

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

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

The farmers' protest occurred 30 kilometres into the 218km leg from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, cleans his eyes.

Protesting French farmers brought the Tour de France to a temporary standstill earlier today, with bales of hay reportedly being thrown onto the cycling route - prompting a swift reaction from local police.

Four-time champion Chris Froome and race leader Geraint Thomas were two of the cyclists affected.

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.

Tour de France halted after riders hit by pepper spray fired by police
Tour de France stopped after pepper spray hits riders during roadside protest

Froome said he was grateful that the race had been neutralised to allow riders to recover.

Farmers' protests are nothing new at the Tour, but the incident will add to the intense security situation in this year's edition.

In the end it was British rider Yates who won the climb to Col du Portillon, and looked set to win his first Tour stage.

"Two-and-a-half hours of full-gas racing", says Geraint Thomas, the Team Sky rider now wearing the yellow jersey.

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.

Stage 16 of Le Tour 2018 sees the riders make their way 218 kilometers from Carcassonne to Bagnres-de-Luchon. He was cleared only just before the Tour.

Quick-Step bosses panicked when Gilbert went over the wall - it was on the same descent, albeit several kilometres below, that Italian Fabio Casartelli died in a frightful crash in 1995.

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Alaphilippe wins protest-hit stage, Thomas keeps Tour lead