Tour de France riders sprayed with tear gas amid protest by farmers

Tour de France halted after police pepper spray affects riders

"No honestly, I'm not thinking about that", Thomas said.

HISTORY: Bagneres-de-Luchon is a Tour de France classic, having hosted the race 58 times.

Gianni Moscon will play no further part in this year's race after attacking Elie Gesbert.

"I've learned a lot about his mental strength, the "never say die" attitude and how you deal with everything that's thrown at you in this race - that's what's most impressive".

A key member of Team Sky's eight-man squad for the race, the Italian will head home with unanswered questions over his future on the team.

"The rider pleaded his case through his directeurs sportifs who were heard by the jury of commissaires", read the statement from the race jury.

Defending champion Chris Froome was slapped across the shoulder by a spectator during the climb up to l'Alpe d'Huez last week, and the Briton has also said he has been punched and spat on.

Moscon's exit leaves Sky with seven riders, though they had been along among the teams targeting general classification in not losing a rider already.

Yorick Jansens  Global Look Press
Yorick Jansens Global Look Press

"It's disappointing, but there's nothing we can do", Thomas said.

Thomas and Team Sky have maintained that Froome is the team leader, but the 33-year-old has no issue playing a supporting role for his fellow Brit. With six stages left of this race which ends in Paris on Sunday, Team Sky is in an excellent position to achieve a 1-2 and to secure a sixth win in seven years.

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

In the history of the Tour, only three others have led the race for more days than Froome - Eddy Merckx [96], Bernard Hinault [75] and Miguel Indurain [60].

Asked about Copeland's comments, Froome said: "It's a pretty sad situation if that is correct". "All this talk of attacking or not attacking ... we're in an wonderful position, we're one and two", he said. It's the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, It's a massive honour just to be wearing it.

Wiggins believes that a similar situation will be avoided owing largely to the respect that Thomas has earnt through his loyal service to Froome in past editions.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters BORA-Hansgrohe team rider Pawel Poljanski of Poland cleans his eyes after police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

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