The Tour de France — cycling’s most prestigious race — was temporarily halted Tuesday after tear gas, used to disperse protesters by police, inadvertently got into the eyes of some riders.
Protesting farmers had blocked the road with hay bales, leading police to spray them with CS gas.
Unhappy farmers had organized the protest because they “wanted to be seen” by France’s Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert, according to a police source.
“Looks like the tear gas used by the police on the farmers ended up getting to the eyes of some riders,” tweeted the Quick-Step Cycling team.
Tour leader Geraint Thomas — as well as several other riders — was seen rinsing their eyes with water as the cyclists waited behind the race organizers’ cars for the stage to restart.
Stage 16 of Le Tour 2018 sees the riders make their way 218 kilometers from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon.
“After a 15 minute-long interruption cause by protesters, the race is back on,” tweeted the Tour’s Twitter feed.