The Tour de France was halted following a tear gas incident

Dean Simpson
July 24, 2018

Cycling - Tour de France - Rest day - Carcassonne, France, July 23, 2018.

Meanwhile, Astana took full advantage of what was a transition stage as Nielsen was one of two teammates who fought hard to get in a breakaway group of 29 riders, along with Michael Valgren.

'As long as there is a Team Sky rider on that top step in Paris, I'm happy, ' he said.

Sky has uncommon wealth, vast ambition and an ability to stock its roster with riders with the talent to lead any squad in the peloton--all of which has created an unexpected headache.

Jeff Pachoud  AFP  Getty Images
Jeff Pachoud AFP Getty Images

"A dream scenario for us would be to be going into that time trial as we are, first and second in the general classification", said Froome.

Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas was also pictured dousing his face in water.

And Thomas said: "It's the last mountaintop (finish) that will be most decisive".

But Froome, now 1min 39sec behind Thomas in the overall standings going into three consecutive days in the Pyrenees, said he would be happy to forego all the glory if it means Thomas wins the race for Sky. "It's a big day but there's no easy day at the Tour de France".

Lappartient, however, praised Froome and Thomas for their calm amid the storm.

Like most teams, Sky have previewed the routes of all three Pyreneean stages, as well as the penultimate-stage time trial from Saint-Pee-Sur-Nivelle to Espelette. "I had lots of bad luck", he said.

STAT OF THE DAY: 0 - The number of stage wins achieved by French teams so far this year, with only six stages left before the race ends. "All this talk of attacking or not attacking ... we're in an incredible position, we're one and two", he said.

"This is happening just as we are trying to call the fans to be calm, to make sure that the riders - their riders - and especially Chris Froome, are respected".

The targeting of Froome has reached a point that Bahrain-Merida manager Brent Copeland said he had told his riders not to follow him because it was too risky, having seen his star man Vincenzo Nibali crash out of the Tour after tangling with a fan on the Alpe d'Huez.

"The police had to use tear gas on the protesting farmers...some of which has gone into the eyes of the riders, so the race has stopped for now", Team Dimension Data, one of the teams racing, tweeted when the race came to an abrupt stop.

"The Tour de France is promoted as the world's greatest annual sporting event".

"Like I've said from the start, who know what is around the next corner".

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