Chris Froome crashes after stage as police mistake him for a fan

Chris Froome crashes after stage as police mistake him for a fan”

The 35-year-old Quick Step Floors rider lost control of his bike during a descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet during Stage 16.

The small group of farmers from the Ariege department were protesting the reduction of European Union funding, French media reported.

Race organizers have struggled to deal with angry fans protesting Froome's participation. He has been targeted by race fans over allegations on doping over the use of asthma medicine, with some throwing liquid over the rider and others spitting on him and slapping him.

Froome raced all season under the cloud of a potential ban after a urine sample during his victory at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level.

Sky said Froome was not injured.

Froome, a four-time victor and three-time defending champion of the event, came home in eighth place to drop down to third overall, now two minutes and 31 seconds behind Yellow Jersey-holder Thomas.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) is still third at 1:50.

Kangert was reeled in by King of the Mountain leader Julian Alaphilippe in the first climb of the day to Montée de Peyragudes, but held on to reach the top ahead of the Frenchman.

Romain Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale team upped the pace in the second climb, the Col du Val Louron Azet (7.4km at 8.3 per cent), to shake up the peloton and hoped to drop several Team Sky domestiques but they failed.

Sky has been the dominant team at the Tour since Bradley Wiggins became the first rider to win the three-week race in 2012.

"I just sprayed some water, water in the eyes, water on the face", he said. I tried to ride it like a time trial, but the altitude got me in the end. "I chose to bring young Egan (Bernal) here and then half way through I thought I might really regret that decision - and that was nothing to do with racing his bike, or performance, it was just about the experience he was having".

Apoliceman (left) sprays tear gas at protesters, who were blocking the route with haystacks. Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Sky's principal, had caused a stink on Monday by suggesting the spitting, booing and physical intimidation to which his riders have been subjected was a phenomenon particular to "French culture".

Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert was on Wednesday forced to pull out from the 2018 Tour de France after he sustained a kneecap injury during the race's 16th stage.

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