Riders hit by tear gas on Tour de France

Tour de France halted after riders hit by pepper spray fired by police

On Tuesday, we reported that the Tour de France was brought to a halt due to the fact protestors had interrupted the race. Tour organizers said police used tear gas to disperse the protesters as the peloton approached.

Among the riders affected by the tear gas was Team Sky's overall leader Geraint Thomas, who was pictured rubbing his nose following the incident.

It was in the same descent that Italian Fabio Casartelli crashed and died in the 1995 Tour de France.

Wednesday marks a new chapter in Tour de France history as the classic race heads to Col du Portet, some 2,215 metres above sea level, for the first time in its history.

Despite finishing around 9 minutes behind Alaphilippe, Thomas retains the yellow jersey, maintaining his 1 minute and 39 second advantage over teammate Chris Froome in general classification.

Just a few miles after the start of the race between Carcassonne and Bagnères-de-Luchon, in the southwest of France, local French farmers demonstrating against a decrease in their financial support tried to block the Tour de France by loading bales of hay on the road.

"The last few days I felt really good, which is a good sign", said Martin.

Tour de France halted after riders hit by pepper spray fired by police

The small group of farmers from the Ariege department were protesting the reduction of European Union funding, French media reported.

In the end it was British rider Yates who won the climb to Col du Portillon, and looked set to win his first Tour stage. "I was sad for [Yates] but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks. It's bike racing", the Frenchman said.

"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert reflected.

The last time a Tour stage was blocked by a demonstration was in 2004.

Yates was quickly back on his bike, and followed home Bahrain-Merida's Gorka Izagirre to finish third.

With the roads still slightly damp from an earlier brief downpour, Yates' wheels slipped from beneath him and he never quite regained his confidence and composure as his 25-second lead evaporated.

This stage was just 65km long, but featured three towering climbs between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Col de Portet.

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