Tour de France halted after police pepper spray affects riders

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Hay, pepper spray and a solid dose of crashes seems to be this year's recipe at the Tour de France.

Froome said he was grateful that the race had been neutralised to allow riders to recover.

Riders wait on the road after a farmer's protest interrupted the 16th stage of the Tour de France.

The Quick-Step Cycling team documented the sequence, reiterating that police used the tear gas to clear the protesters, but it ended up getting in the eyes of the cyclists.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas now leads by one minute and 39 seconds ahead of team-mate Chris Froome.

The stage resumed after a 15-minute interruption and Alaphilippe stayed quiet in the breakaway group until the last climb to the Col du Portillon.

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.

"I just felt my throat and nose were burning, eyes were burning afterward", Froome said.

Unai Emery's Arsenal reign starts with 8-0 win
But between the summer signings and the existing squad at his disposal, the 46-year-old wants to have several players who he can consider a captain.

The 65-kilometre mountain race, which begins at 2.15pm BST, promises to be one hell of a ride with unique elements to test riders to their limits.

Simon Clarke of Australia cleans his eyes after tear gas was used by policemen against the farmers who protested during the Tour de France cycling race between Carcassonne and Bagneres-de-Luchon, France, July 24, 2018.

"With the headwind, the gas came back to the peloton".

Tour director Christian Prudhomme condemned the farmers' action and demanded more respect for riders. I took a lot of risks.

The Tour has never tried a stage like this: three savage climbs in such a short distance.

"First of all, I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert said.

Unhappy farmers had organized the protest because they "wanted to be seen" by France's Minister of Agriculture, Stphane Travert, according to a police source.

Froome raced all season under the cloud of a potential ban for using twice the permitted level of salbutamol during his victory at the Spanish Vuelta in September.