A protest by farmers briefly halted the 16th stage of the Tour de France today (July 24), leaving cyclists idling in the middle of the French countryside and braving a cloud of tear gas.
As the racers were riding from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, protesters upset over reduced EU funding threw bales of hay into the road. Some of the tear gas police used to disperse the protesters wafted in the direction of the cyclists. Chris Froome of Britain, one of the tour leaders, was among the cyclists affected by the gas.
Raucous behavior is not uncommon along the route of the tour, and protests have sprouted up in past years. French authorities have tried to discourage disruptive behavior, threatening up to three years of prison time for offenders.