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Cops Hit Tour de France Riders With Tear Gas

Police were stopping a farmers' protest, but the spray inadvertently affected bicyclists
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2018 10:55 AM CDT
Britain's Chris Froome grimaces after his eyes were treated for tear gas or pepper spray sprayed on the peloton after a farmers' protest interrupted the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – Because Tour de France bicyclists needed another physical challenge: Cops accidentally hit some of them with tear gas on Tuesday. It happened as officers were breaking up a farmers' protest that interrupted the 16th stage, reports Australia's ABC. The farmers, upset at slashed government funding, had blocked the road with hay bales—and themselves—as the main pack of riders approached. Officers clearing the road used liberal doses of tear gas or pepper spray, and it was still in the air by the time riders arrived.

The race had to stop completely for 15 minutes as several riders received treatment, mainly drops to their eyes, reports the Guardian. Among them was British cyclist Chris Froome, who isn't having an easy time of it at the tour. Froome is riding under the cloud of doping suspicions, even though he was cleared just before the start of the race. He says he's been repeatedly spat on and jostled by spectators along the way, reports the AP. (Read more Tour de France stories.)

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