Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe wins Tour de France's first mountain stage

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"Their field is the road, the road is open - we can not lock them in a swimming pool or a stadium or in a tennis court".

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas continues to lead by one minute and 39 seconds from Chris Froome, with Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin a further 11 seconds behind.

His chance of the stage victory had gone with the incident, with a group of 17 riders massing inside the final 30kmas the col du Portillon approached.

"I went through some hard moments in the first part of this Tour and lost some time", said Quintana, who is fifth overall.

A gendarme sprays tear gas at protesters as other gendarmes remove haystacks from the route during a farmers protest who attempted to block the stage's route during the 16th stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling
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Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert crashed earlier in the stage while in the lead, hitting a wall and flipping off his bike but avoiding major injury.

However, Quick-Step later announced that Gilbert, a former world champion, was withdrawing from the Tour with a fracture on his left kneecap.

"I'm happy just to be in the position I'm in".

"It's pure happiness after a day of suffering", said Alaphilippe, who tightened his grip on the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.

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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.

"You never know what's coming up on some of these corners", Yates said.

"Morale's pretty damaged right now".

Gendarmes remove haystacks that were placed on the stage's route, during a farmers' protest who attempted to block the race, during the Tour de France cycling race, between Carcassonne and Bagneres-de-Luchon, southwestern France, July 24, 2018.

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He was gaining time in the descent when Yates went down.

Spain's Gorka Izagirre took second place and Yates finished third, 15 seconds behind.

The Tour de France is not something people in Britain ever used to take much notice of until Mark Cavendish started winning loads of stages, then Bradley Wiggins won the whole thing and Chris Froome won it three times- now we can't get enough of the damn thing!

He added: "I've won the last three Grand Tours I've done now, so it's certainly been a tough build-up for me, but I'm still going to try and fight for the podium and try and obviously keep "G" up there in yellow".

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