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Tour de France: stage 16 sabotaged by protesting farmers

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(Image credit: Getty Images)
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 Riders react after riding through tear gas during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

Riders react after riding through tear gas during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France

Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Protesters rolled straw bales into the road

Protesters rolled straw bales into the road
(Image credit: Twitter)
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A gendarme (L) sprays tear gas at protesters (R, some hidden) as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

A gendarme (L) sprays tear gas at protesters (R, some hidden) as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Great Britain's Geraint Thomas cleans his eyes after tear gas was used during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

Great Britain's Geraint Thomas cleans his eyes after tear gas was used during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Great Britain's Geraint Thomas cleans his eyes after tear gas was used during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

Great Britain's Geraint Thomas cleans his eyes after tear gas was used during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France

Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Christopher Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky / peloton stopped due to manifestation and launched tear gas

Christopher Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky / peloton stopped due to manifestation and launched tear gas
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep

Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Peloton stopped due to manifestation and launched tear gas

Peloton stopped due to manifestation and launched tear gas
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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A protester holds a placard reading 'For the Piege region to live' as gendarmes stand watch (Rear) during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

A protester holds a placard reading 'For the Piege region to live' as gendarmes stand watch (Rear) during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France

Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep

Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep

Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Marcel Sieberg reacts after riding through tear gas during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

Marcel Sieberg reacts after riding through tear gas during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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A gendarme (L) sprays tear gas at protesters (R, some hidden) as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

A gendarme (L) sprays tear gas at protesters (R, some hidden) as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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The peloton passing farmer's fields during stage 16 at the Tour de France

The peloton passing farmer's fields during stage 16 at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France

Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep

Gendarmes (L and R) hold back protesters with a flock of sheep, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route with haystacks and sheep
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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A protester holds a placard reading 'For the Piege region to live' as gendarmes stand watch (Rear) during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route

A protester holds a placard reading 'For the Piege region to live' as gendarmes stand watch (Rear) during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France

Gendarmes detain a protester during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the stage's route, during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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The peloton was stopped for 15 minutes

The peloton was stopped for 15 minutes
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Riders had to wash the pepper spray from their eyes

Riders had to wash the pepper spray from their eyes
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Chris Froome washes his eyes

Chris Froome washes his eyes
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Chris Froome was one of many riders who was hit by the police pepper spray

Chris Froome was one of many riders who was hit by the police pepper spray
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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A French police officer with a baton and pepper spray tries to hold back the protesters

A French police officer with a baton and pepper spray tries to hold back the protesters
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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French police hold a protester

French police hold a protester
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) and other riders wait for the stage to start after the protest

Chris Froome (Team Sky) and other riders wait for the stage to start after the protest
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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Riders sit near the Tour de France directors car after the protest

Riders sit near the Tour de France directors car after the protest
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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The Tour de France peloton was stopped behind the race director's car

The Tour de France peloton was stopped behind the race director's car
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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Geraint Thomas was amongst the riders affected by the apparent use of pepper spray

Geraint Thomas was amongst the riders affected by the apparent use of pepper spray
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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A protester is pushed off the road

A protester is pushed off the road
(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty )
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The riders were stopped for several minutes

The riders were stopped for several minutes
(Image credit: Twitter)
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Police tried to hold back the protesters

Police tried to hold back the protesters
(Image credit: Twitter)
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A helicopter shot of the protest

A helicopter shot of the protest
(Image credit: Twitter)
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The riders came to a halt behind the race directors car

The riders came to a halt behind the race directors car
(Image credit: Twitter)

Not quite 30km into the day, stage 16 of the Tour de France was halted for 15 minutes after a roadside protest. Farmers rolled hay bales onto the road to narrow and a number of riders needed treatment for problems with their eyes, apparently due to police using pepper spray or tear gas to try to control the protesters.

Race leader Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome (Team Sky), Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), Taylor Phinney (EF – Education First), Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ), Heinrich Haussler (UAE Emirates), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida), Omar Fraile (Astana), Rory Sutherland (UAE Emirates) and Daniele Martinez (EF-Education First) were amongst those clustered around the medical car at the back of the field, getting bottles of water to flush out their visibly puffy eyes.

No one was reported injured by the falling bales or crashing due to the incident. The farmers were apparently protesting against recent changes to so-called disadvantaged and difficult to farm areas.  

The stage was initially neutralised, before the peloton was stopped to allow riders to be treated. After 15 minutes or so the race started again.