Police use 'tear gas' on Tour de France protesters who blocked route with bales of hay

Some riders were affected and the 16th stage had to be temporarily stopped.

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2018-PROTEST Police detain a protester. AFP / Getty Images AFP / Getty Images / Getty Images

THE TOUR DE France’s 16th stage was briefly brought to a halt today when police used tear gas near the peloton to break up a protest by farmers.

Bales of hay blocked the road 26 kilometres into the day’s ride from Carcassone as farmers demonstrated against a cut in state aid.

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.

Television images showed Tour de France medical officers handing out eye drops to riders including green jersey points leader Peter Sagan.

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2018-PROTEST Gendarmes remove haystacks that were placed on the stage route. AFP / Getty Images AFP / Getty Images / Getty Images

The 218km stage with a finish in Bagneres-de-Luchon and featuring two first category climbs in the Pyrenees restarted after an interruption lasting around 10 minutes.

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2018-PROTEST A rider wipes his eyes after tear gas was used. AFP / Getty Images AFP / Getty Images / Getty Images

This year’s Tour de France has been marked by a series of incidents on the sidelines of the race including abuse directed at Team Sky and four-time champion Chris Froome.

Amid a general feeling of suspicion surrounding Sky and their sheer domination of the race, Froome has been spat at and manhandled, Thomas has been booed off the podium and some of Sky’s staff have also faced abuse.

© AFP 2018 

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