MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 03:12:03

Tour de France riders hit with spray as police break up protest

A number of Tour de France riders are left needing medical treatment after police use a spray to break up a farmers' protest early on stage 16.

The Tour de France had to be stopped after a number of riders were affected by a spray used by police to break up a farmers' protest.

Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas and world champion Peter Sagan were among the riders impacted as stage 16 was temporarily stopped.

Farmers rolled large hay bales into the road 29 kilometres into Tuesday's stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Police then used a spray to tackle some of the protesters as the race approached, and it appeared to get into the eyes of a number of riders.

Team Sky's Thomas was seen wiping his eyes while Sagan used his water bottles to wash his eyes.

The race was stopped completely while several riders received medical treatment from the doctor's car at the rear of the peloton.

After a 15-minute interval, the race resumed with a short neutralised section before the flag was dropped once more with 33km of the 218km distance covered.

Tuesday's stage takes the race into the Pyrenees for the first time as the final week begins, with Thomas looking to hold on to a lead of one minute and 39 seconds over teammate Chris Froome, with Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin a further 11 seconds back.


Click here for more stories about Geraint Thomas

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Mark Cavendish photographed on July 21, 2013
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