The Tour de France stage to Megève came to a stop with 35km to go as the route was blocked by a group of protestors demanding action against climate change.
Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) had attacked the 25-rider breakaway that had gained over seven minutes on the group of race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and had a lead of 32 seconds when the race motorbike drew alongside to warn him the race would have to stop.
After a brief discussion regarding how his gap would be re-established when the race resumed, Bettiol stopped, as did the rest of the breakaway. The peloton rolled toward where the riders were stopped and were assured the same gaps would be maintained.
Bettiol shook his head in disbelief as he waited for the route to clear as protestors with flares sat in the middle of the road.
A similar protest occurred during the French Open in June when a woman with a t-shirt reading "We have 1028 days left" tied herself to the net during the men's semi-final round. A group called 'Derniere Renovation’ claimed responsibility for that incident and the protest that stopped today's Tour de France stage.
On their website, Derniere Renovation stated the protest was not their preferred course of action, stating "It is urgent, we must act and make our government react, starting with the energy renovation of buildings."
The group's countdown is believed to refer to the United Nations Climate report that says time is running out to slow climate change.
A quote attributed to "Alice, 32", stated, "I would rather be with my grandfather, be quiet on my sofa watching the Tour de France, while the government does its job. But this is not the reality.
"The reality is that the world to which the politicians are sending us is a world in which the Tour de France will no longer be able to exist. In this world, we will be busy fighting to feed ourselves and to save our families. Under these conditions we will face mass wars and famines. We must act and enter into civil resistance today to save what remains to be saved.
"What do you expect from me? That I stay on the roadside watching my life go by like I watch cyclists go by? No, I decided to act and interfere to avoid the worst episode of suffering and create a new world. Because everything can still change."
Other protests have stopped the Tour de France in the past, with farmers halting the race in 2018. The riders themselves staged a go-slow in 2021 to protest against dangerous conditions after a crash-filled stage 3.
On a stage where riders repeatedly had to douse themselves with cool water to fight the heat, gendarmes forcibly removed two women who had chained themselves together by the neck, one of whom wore a shirt reading "We have 989 days left" and other protestors from the route and the race resumed.
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's specialises in covering doping, anti-doping, UCI governance and performing data analysis.