Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Police accidentally tear gas several Tour de France riders amid farmers' protest

Tour de France riders affected by spray when police broke up a farmers' protest Tour de France riders affected by spray when police broke up a farmers' protest
Jennie Wade | 24 July, 2018, 23:46

Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome and third-placed Tom Dumoulin all crossed together almost nine minutes behind.

But the British outfit's bid to win the French race for the sixth time in seven years is not sitting well with some fans.

Thomas and Froome may be in a strong position on the podium, but Team Sky were hurt on Sunday night when Gianni Moscon was disqualified from the race for punching Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gesbert early on stage 15 to Carcassonne.

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.

"It was very lovely to win today after three days in the Alps", said Sagan, whose 11th stage win on the race helped take his tally in the points competition to 398 points.

The 13th stage of the French grand tour was 169.5 kilometres long between Bourg d'Oisans and Valence over a flat route that made it a good day for the few fast men that are still racing. "But winning is still not something I'm really thinking about".

"We're trying to remain dignified, we're trying to not get distracted by it", he said. "I'm sure they'd be happy for either of us to win", he said after stage 14.

Other teams and riders are also concerned about security. "They won't attack from the starting line", Steels says, adding that the only instance where an immediate attack could occur is if one team has four or five riders in the top 20.

That break will precede a stretch in the Pyrenees that will feature three mountain stages before an individual time trial on the Tour's penultimate day.

The Tour de France was halted by protesters on Tuesday afternoon
The Tour de France was halted by protesters on Tuesday afternoon

Most of the bad behaviour from a small minority of spectators has targeted Sky, who started the race under a cloud, and are looking hard to beat.

There was uncertainty about the chance of Froome taking the start because the race organisers intimated that they would prefer he didn't contest the Tour while he was still under investigation for an "adverse analytical finding" [AAF] for the asthma medication, Salbutamol. He holds all three Grand Tour titles after following his fourth Tour win past year with victory in La Vuelta and the Giro d'Italia, and has his sights set on a rare Giro-Tour double.

Just when you thought this Tour de France had thrown up all the drama it could, what with the booing and the spitting and the crashing and the accusations of French cultural bias.

'I'm not sure they'd have liked their football players being spat at in Russian Federation [at the World Cup]. "I'm sure it will be good to watch, maybe not to race". "It's very, very intimidating".

"Sky are dominant, that's a fact".

"Chris's case was open when we raced in Italy".

The feat would also see the Kenyan-born Briton, who won the 2017 Tour of Spain and this year's Giro d'Italia, become the first rider since deceased Italian Marco Pantani, in 1998, to claim a Giro-Tour double in the same calendar year.

Brailsford admitted the incident is unlikely to get fans on their side.

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