Froome crashes after police mistake him for TDF fan

Chris Froome

According to Agence France-Presse, the bales of hay caused a stoppage about 16 miles into the stage's 135-mile route as farmers protested a decline in state aid.

Police removed the obstacles from the road, but were forced to use tear gas to make the farmers disperse.

Team Sky leader Froome, a four-time champion, finished the stage in eighth place at 1min 35sec behind Colombian victor Nairo Quintana and 48secs behind teammate and overall leader Geraint Thomas.

A protestor faces French gendarmes during the 16th stage of the Tour de France.

The Tour de France, which began on July 7, will finish in Paris on Sunday.

Amid a general feeling of suspicion surrounding Sky and their sheer domination of the race, Froome has been spat at and manhandled, Thomas has been booed off the podium and some of Sky's staff have also faced abuse.

Great Britain's Geraint Thomas, right, wearing the leader's yellow jersey, and other riders wait for the race to resume.

Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert crashed earlier in the stage while in the lead when descending from the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, hitting a wall and flipping off his bike but avoiding major injury.

Old boy Dominic Raab has end-of-term blues
Precise details will not be known until the withdrawal agreement is concluded. Dominic Raab sat with his hands clasped as if in prayer.

This summer Geraint Thomas is leading, which I'm sure you all knew because since the World Cup finished you've had nothing else in your life. They must be respected, they take enough risks for their job.

Their field is the road, the road is open - we can not lock them in a swimming pool or a stadium or in a tennis court.

"I thought I was broken everywhere", said Gilbert, a teammate of Alaphilippe's on the Quick-Step team.

"First of all, I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", Gilbert said.

The last time a Tour stage was blocked by a demonstration was in 2004.

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

But with only 5 kilometers of descent to go, Yates crashed turning a corner and could only watch as Alaphilippe flew past.

Yates was quickly back on his bike, and followed home Bahrain-Merida's Gorka Izagirre to finish third.

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