Wednesday was not Chris Froome's day at the Tour de France. First, the Team Sky rider lost contact with the other overall contenders and slipped to third in the rankings behind teammate Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) on the stage 17 summit of Col du Portet.
After the stage, he was accosted by a gendarme while descending the Col du Portet and fell off his bike. Froome, wearing his helmet and a nondescript gray rain jacket over his team kit, riding his Pinarello while with the number 1 clearly showing on his frame tag, was photographed being grabbed by the arm by the gendarme.
Team Sky said the gendarme tried to stop Froome, who was descending with his bodyguard, and Froome crashed. The two had heated words with the gendarme before riding off.
The gendarmes are tasked with securing the course to protect the riders, often forcing spectators to walk their bikes, but the Tour de France competitors are generally allowed to descend on their bikes back to the team buses.
The incident comes one day after Froome was affected by pepper spray that the police directed at demonstrators who attempted to block the Tour de France with hay bales, but which drifted downwind into the riders' faces.
In addition, Team Sky's overall race leader Geraint Thomas was nearly pulled from his bike on the way up the ascent during the race. A spectator was photographed grabbing his arm. Thomas was able to ride on, but was seen looking back at the spectator.