Geraint Thomas Takes Control of the Tour de France

Geraint Thomas Takes Control of the Tour de France

Geraint Thomas Takes Control of the Tour de France

Yellow jersey wearer Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome were among a number of Tour de France riders affected by a spray used by police to break up a farmers' protest which caused stage 16 of the race to be stopped.

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.

There is one more mountain stage before the race reaches Paris on Sunday and Quintana has little chance of overturning his deficit, aware his limited ability in the race against the clock will go against him in Saturday's time trial in the Basque country.

In a freaky postscript to a dramatic day in the Pyrenees, Froome was riding off the top of the final climb of the day - the Col du Portet - after the race had finished when he was grabbed by an over officious gendarme.

"This stage is going to be massively decisive, there are going to be big gaps", said Thomas.

The first test, surprisingly, on this stage 16 came after just 30 kilometres of racing.

Froome was descending along with his Team Sky bodyguard when the incident happened but there haven't been any further repercussions yet.

Colombia's Nairo Quintana left and Britain's Chris Froome talk prior to the start of the seventeenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 65 kilometers with start in Bagneres-de Luchon and finish in Saint-Lary-Soulan Col
Tour de France halted after police pepper spray affects riders

"Spectators are becoming more and more demanding and they want to see real excitement", says Luca Guercilena, general manager of the Trek-Segafredo team.

The stage was delayed 26 kilometres in after protesting farmers put bales of hay on the road to demonstrate against state aid cuts, with police using tear gas that resulted in a number of riders needing medical treatment.

It could, however, also open the door for a challenger to emerge and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin is one of those lying in wait for the top two to slip up. Yet when he arrived back at his team bus and responded to questions in French, he seemed dazed by the stage, a demeanour that was perhaps partly attributable to his collision with a policeman as he rode down from the finish. The cycling family, I get a lot of support from everyone...

"As soon as you get carried away, it's when it goes downhill", the two-time Olympic track champion said.

Alaphilippe caught and passed Yates to go clear to the finish, earning his second win of the race following a triumph on stage 10.

"The probability of us winning this race lies more with Geraint now I think, but it doesn't mean it's all over".

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.

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