NEWS
24/07/2018 11:48 BST | Updated 24/07/2018 14:53 BST

Tour de France Halted After Hay Bales Thrown At Riders In The Peloton

The incident is reportedly part of a protest by French farmers.

JEFF PACHOUD via Getty Images
The pack of riders waits for the stage to resume, after tear gas was used during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the 16th stage's route.

The Tour de France race has been halted after hay bales were thrown into cyclists’ path during the 16th stage of the competition.

The peloton was reportedly sprayed with a substance by police officers trying to deal with a protest by French farmers.

The race had to be halted 29km into the stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters
 Police officers remove hay bales off the road after a protest. 
JEFF PACHOUD via Getty Images
Riders sit after General Director of the Tour de France, France's Christian Prudhomme (Rear L) halted the race.

Cycling teams and French media said police used tear gas to disperse the protesters but it ended up blowing in the face of the riders, which led to the race being stopped.

The incident led to a number of riders having to wash their eyes out with water.

Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas and world champion Peter Sagan were among the riders rinsing their eyes after the incident, which stopped the stage for 15 minutes.

The BBC reports that every rider affected by the spray has recovered.

After the race had to be halted, it resumed 33km into the 218km stage.

It is not the first time that protesters have interrupted a prominent race, the most memorable incident happening in the 1984 Paris-Nice, when French great Bernard Hinault punched one of the demonstrators.