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Tour de France 2018 Comes to a Stop as Riders Are Accidentally Hit with Tear Gas

The famous Tour de France, now at its 105th edition, came to a sudden – and rather violent – stop in its 16th stage, as cyclists entered a narrow country road.
Tour de France 2018 comes to a halt after police clash with protesters and riders are accidentally hit with tear gas 10 photos
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There was a delay of almost 15 minutes and some riders sought medical treatment, after they were hit with tear gas by the police, the BBC reports.

The tear gas was actually meant for a group of French farmers, who used the opportunity of the race to get the attention of the country’s Ministry of Agriculture. They blocked the narrow country road the cyclists were to cross by using tractors and hay bales.

Police removed the obstacles from the road, but were forced to use tear gas to make the farmers disperse. Some riders were accidentally hit by it and were seen rinsing their eyes with water, or requesting assistance at the doctor’s car at the back of the peloton.

The incident occurred on stage 16 of the 135-mile route from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, roughly 18 miles into the race. The riders were still traveling as a single, compact unit. 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.

“Briton Geraint Thomas, who is in the leader's yellow jersey, four-time winner and team-mate Chris Froome, and world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia were among those affected,” the BBC notes.

As for the reason the farmers felt the need for such a drastic gesture, it’s because of government plans to cut down on the number of areas labeled as “disadvantaged” by the government and the European Union. Most farmers here rely on EU financial aid to get by, and if they lose this classification, they fear they will go out of business.

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