French farmers bring Tour de France to standstill with protest

Nairo Quintana on the attack.            
    
              
     
     
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Nairo Quintana on the attack. Show Grid

Tour organizers said police used tear gas to move the protesters as the peloton approached.

The 65-kilometre (40-mile) route from Bagneres-de-Luchon features three grueling climbs and hardly a stretch of flat road.

After fans had caused chaos in the Alps by setting off flares, tear gas from police accidentally played havoc with Tour de France riders during the first stage in the Pyrenees on Tuesday.

French Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step Floors wearing the red polka-dot jersey celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race. 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.

Thomas and green jersey wearer Peter Sagan were some those seen washing their eyes after the incident, which brought the race to a stop for 15 minutes. Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome and third-placed Tom Dumoulin all crossed together almost nine minutes behind.

Thomas now commands a lead of two minutes and 30 seconds over Froome, the 2017 Tour de France victor, with only four stages to go.

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

Tanel Kangert Astana Tour de France 2018
Tour de France halted after riders hit by pepper spray fired by police

"Do not add to danger for the cyclists", Prudhomme said.

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

According to the Associated Press, the hay bales were thrown into the road ahead of the race's lead pack by farmers facing an even more grueling challenge - the reduction of European Union funding.

This summer Geraint Thomas is leading, which I'm sure you all knew because since the World Cup finished you've had nothing else in your life. They must be respected, they take enough risks for their job.

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

Race organizers have had trouble controlling crowds with fans getting out of hand on the most famous climbs of the Tour.

Contentious bill defines Israel as Jewish nation
Even after the changes, critics said the new law will deepen a sense of alienation within the country's minority population. Largely symbolic, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel.

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