#GlobalNews: « Tour de France riders hit with cloud of tear fuel – National «
BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — After followers had triggered chaos within the Alps by setting off flares, tear fuel from police unintentionally performed havoc with Tour de France riders throughout the first stage within the Pyrenees on Tuesday.
Four-time champion Chris Froome was amongst a big group of riders whose eyes wanted remedy when police intervened to disperse farmers protesting funding cuts by disrupting biking’s greatest race.
Bales of hay blocked the street 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) into the 218-kilometer stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon. Tour organizers mentioned police used tear fuel to maneuver the protesters because the peloton approached.
Four-time champion Froome, race chief Geraint Thomas, and world champion Peter Sagan had been amongst these affected. Froome was handled with eye drops and Sagan poured water over his face to scrub his eyes.
Stage 16 resumed after a 15-minute delay.
“I was lucky that it did not affect me too much, I had a bit of tingling in the back of the throat but I used some water to wash it out,” mentioned Thomas on the end line within the spa city of Bagneres-de-Luchon, after maintaining his total lead intact.
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Froome, who remained in second place total, 1 minute, 39 seconds behind Sky teammate Thomas, mentioned the consequences of the fuel didn’t final lengthy.
“I just sprayed some water, water in the eyes, water on the face,” he mentioned.
“Just felt throat and nose were burning, eyes were burning afterwards. But I think quite a lot of riders were in a similar situation. I think we’re all grateful for temporary neutralization and to clear, to have a couple of (kilometers) to clear our eyes, nose out, then the racing continued again.”
Frenchman Pierre Latour, who wears the white jersey for the perfect younger rider, mentioned he observed police had been utilizing tear fuel when he arrived on the street blockade.
“With the headwind, the gas came back to the peloton. Lots of us had to stop to drink and douse water over our eyes,” Latour mentioned.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme condemned the farmers’ motion and demanded extra respect for riders.
“The road should remain free, we are not going to lock the riders in a stadium or on a tennis court,” he mentioned. “The riders’ job is extremely dangerous, they are taking risks every day, people should not block the road, no matter what causes they are fighting for.”
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Belgian classics specialist Greg Van Avermaet mentioned race organizers made a superb choice by neutralizing the stage, permitting the peloton to renew competing after three kilometers.
“I was not affected because I was not in the first 10 of the group,” he mentioned.
“I heard some of the guys had problems so I thought it was a good decision to stop and wait and bring everything together.”
According to a press release from French authorities within the native Aude division, a small group of 20 activists made the intervention to protest a deliberate discount of European Union funding of their space. Standing on the aspect of the street with a herd of about 50 sheep, the farmers threw hay bales on the race route simply minutes earlier than the peloton arrived.
This Tour has been marred by incidents.
Race organizers have struggled to cope with indignant followers protesting Froome’s participation. After followers threw flares at riders within the climb to the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, Tour organizers banned the usage of smoke flares for the remainder of the race.
Froome raced all season underneath the cloud of a possible ban for utilizing twice the permitted stage of salbutamol throughout his victory on the Spanish Vuelta in September. He was cleared solely simply earlier than the Tour. He mentioned he has been repeatedly spat at for the reason that race began, and spectators have punched him and tried to make him fall off his bike.
Note: « Previously Published on: 2018-07-24 14:38:37, as ‘Tour de France riders hit with cloud of tear fuel – National