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Policeman bizarrely knocks Chris Froome off his bike

Policeman bizarrely knocks Chris Froome off his bike

France's most iconic sporting event - an organised protest against French government policy - was interrupted by a bicycle race overnight, resulting in the accidental teargassing of several Tour De France riders.

Thomas held an overnight lead of 1min 39sec on compatriot Froome, but took it to 2:31 after the four-time champion crossed the finish 1:36 behind Quintana and almost a minute off Thomas.

Thomas remained 1 minute, 39 seconds ahead of four-time champion Froome, with Dumoulin 1:50 back.

Meanwhile, Peter Sagan, the three-time defending world champion and three-time stage victor in this year's race, crashed on the descent from the Col de Val Louron, the second mountain of the day.

French rider Julian Alaphilippe of Team Quick-Step won Stage 16 of the Tour de France after the race was disrupted for 15 minutes by protesters.

At just 65 km, Stage 17 in the Pyrenees was the shortest Tour stage this century, but featured three serious, category one climbs.

"Nairo came with me and went past me. I chose to bring young Egan (Bernal) here and then half way through I thought I might really regret that decision - and that was nothing to do with racing his bike, or performance, it was just about the experience he was having".

A gendarme sprays tear gas at protesters as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route 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 cycling
Tour de France halted after police pepper spray affects riders

Yates accelerated solo on the climb but, with the QuickStep Floors rider in hot pursuit, the Brit attacked the descent hard and paid for his risk-taking when he crashed - allowing the Frenchman to sweep past. "That gave me confidence because I knew if Froomey suffered, everyone suffered".

Police attempted to break up the protest, with reports tear gas and pepper spray was used.

They only had to control Dumoulin and Lotto Jumbo rider Roglic, who launched a series of attacks in the closing kilometres that put Froome in trouble.

"We just got to look after [Thomas] now", Froome said.

This Tour has been marred by incidents as race organizers struggle to deal with angry fans protesting against Froome's participation.

Before that, Gilbert posted a video online explaining why he would be unable to finish the race. I was hoping Thomas would crack, but no.

"I don't [feel exhausted from the Giro], I'm still riding strong, so I'm happy with my Tour so far".

Charlie Rowley discharged from hospital after Novichok poisoning
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will analyse the substance before reporting back its conclusions. Charlie was admitted to Salisbury District Hospital on Saturday June 30th, following exposure to the nerve agent, novichok .

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