Morning Chronicle - Tour environmental interruption an 'anecdote' for riders

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Tour environmental interruption an 'anecdote' for riders
Tour environmental interruption an 'anecdote' for riders / Photo: Marco BERTORELLO - AFP

Tour environmental interruption an 'anecdote' for riders

Tour de France riders played down the interruption of Tuesday's 10th stage by climate activists saying it was a chance to fill water bottles and have a rest.

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Racing was halted for 15 minutes with 38km to go to the finish line at the Alpine town of Megeve before Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen won.

Nine individuals from the "Derniere Renovation" (The Final Renovation) group blocked the road by sitting on the tarmac and lighting flares.

Frenchman Benjamin Thomas finished seventh after also doing so on stage eight.

"The interruption? It cut our effort, after then you have to get back into things," he said.

"We understood quickly that the race would be interrupted. With the guys in the breakaway, we laughed it off.

"We made the most of it by filling our water bottles and eating something. It's an anecdote," the Cofidis rider added.

The then race leader Alberto Bettiol managed to slalom his way through the protesters, a team car and motorbikes to continue racing but the Italian was then temporarily held up with rest of the peloton.

"It wasn't easy to be stopped dead after having been full throttle until then," EF Education-EasyPost's Bettiol said.

"The organisers did a good job and we started up again quickly," Nielsen team-mate added.

- 'Cliche' -

Thomas' compatriot Benoit Cosnefroy also laughed off the incident.

"It represents France and the Tour de France well, everyone has cliches, it allowed us to recover a bit," AG2R Citroen's rider said.

The Derniere Renovation protestors wore T-shirts with "We have 989 days left" on them after having also stopped play during last month's French Open semi-final.

A member of the group wore a top with "We have 1028 days left" and tied herself to the net before she was removed from the court.

"Why have Dernier Renovation just blocked the Tour de France?" the group posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

"The effects of the announcement, the pitiful effects of language on the so-called "radicality" of the environmental action of (the French government) and (President) Emmanuel Macron are intolerable and criminal.

"It must change," it added.

In July, organisation Just Stop Oil invaded the circuit at the British Grand Prix and one of their activists tied himself to the goalpost during a Premier League match in March.

Wednesday's 11th stage of the Tour is a mountainous 151.7km run from Albertville to the Col du Granon Serre Chevalier at 2,413m altitude with two-time champion Tadej Pogacar in the overall leader's yellow jersey.