Today’s stage of the Tour de France was momentarily thrown into chaos after the peloton was brought to a standstill having been caught up in a protest and inadvertently sprayed with tear gas by the French police.
The post-rest day stage had just got underway from Carcassonne when race officials were forced to stop the peloton and wait for police to disperse an ongoing protest by local farmers.
Tractors had been used by the protesters to push bales of hay into the path of the peloton, blocking off the route. This halted the race for 15 minutes as the debris was cleared and the police attempted to move the small group of aggravated farmers. It was at this point that tear gas was used, with the substance caught by the wind and blown straight at the peloton, according to reports from a number of teams.
During the delay, riders including yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas, four-time winner Chris Froome and world champion Peter Sagan were seen using eye drops to try and treat themselves for tear gas, while others in the peloton were seen washing their faces with water.
The day’s racing was soon underway again though, with the riders tackling five categorised climbs on today’s mountainous stage, which will finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon.