'We can no longer remain spectators of the ongoing climate disaster': Protestors force Tour de France stage 10 to be stopped

Alberto Bettiol and rest of breakaway forced to a halt due to protest blocking road, race resumed with previous time gaps

Tour de France protestors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A group of environmental protestors forced stage ten of the Tour de France to be neutralised, after they blocked the road, forcing the breakaway to come to a halt. After the road was clear, the race resumed, with the previous time gaps reinstated.

The peloton was reduced to rolling along behind race motorbikes, before halting on the road, while the breakaway were completely stopped. This was to ensure that the time gaps remained in the race.

With 37km to go, the group blocked the road, at which time Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) was up the road with 28 seconds on the remaining 24 riders in the breakaway.

The time gaps from Bettiol to the break, and from the break to the peloton, were put back in after the road was cleared.

The protestors were from the group Dernière Rènovation, who are attempting to force France to dramatically reduce its emissions; they chained themselves together and set off a flare before Bettiol reached them.

It follows recent environmental protests at sporting events, including a group of people from 'Just Stop Oil' who ran onto the track at the British Grand Prix recently, forcing the Formula 1 race to be neutralised.

In a press release the group said: "We can no longer remain spectators of the ongoing climate disaster. We have 989 days left to save our future, our humanity.

"The finish line is a ravine and we accuse our government and in particular the President of the Republic of condemning us to death. The effects of announcement, the pitiful effects of language on the so-called ecological 'revolution' of the government are intolerable and criminal. We need to change policy, and start -immediately - with the overall energy renovation of buildings."

One of the protestors, Alice, also protested at the French Open at the beginning of June, tying herself to the net during a match.

“I would prefer not to come to this. I would rather be with my grandfather, be quiet on my sofa watching the Tour de France, while the government does its job. But that's not the reality," she wrote in the press release.

“The reality is that the world to which politicians are sending us is a world in which the Tour de France can no longer exist. In this world, we will be busy fighting to feed ourselves and to save our families. Under these conditions we will face wars and mass starvation. We must act and enter into civil resistance today to save what remains to be saved. 

“What do you expect from me? That I stay on the roadside watching my life go by like I watch cyclists go by? No, I decided to act and interfere to avoid the worst episode of suffering and create a new world. Because everything can still change."

The Tour was stopped for around 15 minutes while the protest was cleared, during which time some riders took the opportunity to stretch their legs. 

Bradley Wiggins, who is on a motorbike for Eurosport/GCN at this race, described the protestors as "imbeciles" and said them being removed was "great scenes".

It was 29 degrees in the Alps on Tuesday.

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