WORLD NEWS
07/24/2018 10:21 am ET Updated Jul 24, 2018

Tour De France Briefly Halted After Riders Are Pepper-Sprayed Amid Protest

The chemical blew into the eyes of some cyclists, including race leader Geraint Thomas.
A police officer pepper-sprays a protester as another protester stands in front of the race director's car. The farmers were
Stephane Mahe/Reuters
A police officer pepper-sprays a protester as another protester stands in front of the race director's car. The farmers were reportedly trying to bring attention to a cut in state aid.

The Tour de France took an eye-watering turn on Tuesday when a protest by farmers led to several cyclists inadvertently getting pepper spray from police blown into their eyes.

The riders were pedaling along stage 16 of the race when the route from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon was found blocked with bales of hay.

The protesters blocked the cyclists' route with bales of hay. After a 15-minute break, the race resumed.
Stephane Mahe/Reuters
The protesters blocked the cyclists' route with bales of hay. After a 15-minute break, the race resumed.

Police officers used tear gas to disperse the protesters ― and physically carried others away ― but some of the chemicals ended up getting blasted downwind into athletes’ faces, Reuters reported.

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

Those riders included Geraint Thomas (wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey) and world champion Pete Sagan, who were seen washing their faces with bottles of water.

Four-time race champion Chris Froome was also seen putting teardrops in his eyes.

BORA-Hansgrohe team rider Pawel Poljanski of Poland cleans his eyes after police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd
Stephane Mahe/Reuters
BORA-Hansgrohe team rider Pawel Poljanski of Poland cleans his eyes after police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
Daniel Felipe Martinez of Colombia, who's riding for team EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale, cleans his eyes af
Stephane Mahe/Reuters
Daniel Felipe Martinez of Colombia, who's riding for team EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale, cleans his eyes after the protest.

The farmers were causing a scene to bring attention to a cut in state aid, according to Sky News.

The race resumed shortly after without further issue.

“After a 15 minute-long interruption caused by protesters, the race is back on,” the tour’s Twitter page announced. 

The Tour de France, which began on July 7, will finish in Paris on Sunday.

Police officers carry a protester off the road on Tuesday as cyclists with the Tour de France pass.
Stephane Mahe/Reuters
Police officers carry a protester off the road on Tuesday as cyclists with the Tour de France pass.
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