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Farmers brings Tour de France to a standstill after mass protest

Protests from farmers causes disruption to the Tour de France as the race stops at stage 16. Credit: PA

The Tour de France was temporarily brought to a halt when protesting farmers stacked tonnes of hay on the road and parked their tractors nearby.

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

Farmers' protests are nothing new at the Tour, but the incident will add to the intense security situation in this year's edition.

Farmers protesting with tractors and hay causing disruption to stage 16 of the Tour de France Credit: AP

Yellow jersey Geraint Thomas and world champion Peter Sagan were among a number of Tour de France riders affected by a spray used by police to break up a farmers' protest which caused stage 16 of the race to be stopped.

Enthusiastic protests by farmers brings stage 16 of the Tour de France race to a halt Credit: PA
A police man holds a canister of tear gas during a protest action, in the 16th stage of the Tour De France Credit: PA

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.

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

The official twitter page for the race, Le Tour de France tweeted "the race will resume shortly" at the 187 km point.

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Team Sky's Chris Froome was jostled and spat at on Alpe d'Huez, while 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali saw his race ended after he was brought down in a tangle with a fan on the same mountain.

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. Credit: PA

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 team-mate Froome, with Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin a further 11 seconds back.

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.

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