Tour De France: Julian Alaphilippe takes 16th stage after peloton tear gassed

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Riders wait on the road after a farmer's protest interrupts stage 16 of the Tour de France.

The Tour de France is the world's biggest and most iconic cycling race.

It will be a stage with three climbs, 3,000 metres of positive elevation and is only 65 kilometres long! "I've took more risks on more technical descents before and never had any problems".

Froome, who began the day one minute 39 seconds behind Thomas in second, faded on the last climb to lose further time and drop to third overall, 2:31 behind leader Thomas, while Sunweb's Dumoulin, who crossed in fifth, is second overall, 1:59 back.

Hay, pepper spray and a solid dose of crashes seems to be this year's recipe at the Tour de France.

"The road should remain free, we are not going to lock the riders in a stadium or on a tennis court", he said.

The 218-kilometer stage from Carcassone to Bagnères-de-Luchon in the southwest of France was the first to hit the Pyrenees mountains, and was packed full of incidents. It was the same descent where Italian rider Fabio Casartelli died in the 1995 Tour.

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Nonetheless, last week Froome and other Team Sky riders were targeted by a flare, while the four-time champion was reportedly spat at and pushed by road-side spectators.

Protesting French farmers brought the Tour de France to a temporary standstill earlier today, with bales of hay reportedly being thrown onto the cycling route - prompting a swift reaction from local police.

This time however, after those famously hard 7km of the "Pla" will come the aforementioned Portet, an epic 9 kilometres with a sandy, lunar landscape that will leave riders exposed to the wind and sun.

"It's pure happiness after a day of suffering", said Alaphilippe, who tightened his grip on the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.

Yates led Alaphilippe by 20 seconds at the top of the Col du Portillon climb 10 kilometres from the finish but lost control with 6km to go, falling to the pavement on a left turn and sliding across the road.

"Morale's pretty damaged right now".

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