As if traversing the Pyrenees from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon wasn’t grueling enough for Tour de France competitors racing Tuesday’s 16th stage, riders also ran into bales of hay placed by protesters and tear gas sprayed by police during the 218-kilometer leg through the mountains.
According to the Associated Press, the hay bales were thrown into the road ahead of the race’s lead pack by farmers facing an even more grueling challenge — the reduction of European Union funding.
The tear gas? Well, that came from a French police officer who sprayed protesters, only to have the wind send it back into the officer’s face and the faces of cyclists 30 kilometers into Tuesday’s race.
It took 15 minutes for officials to treat riders and clear the area before the race resumed. The Tour’s official Twitter account warned protesters they could face up to three years in prison for interrupting.
Respectez les coureurs, vous risquez.
❌ 1 amende
❌ 3 ans d'emprisonnement
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 24, 2018
This latest interruption came two days after a rider was banned from the race for punching an opponent in the face, which also seems less than ideal when you’re riding a bike up a mountain.
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