A chaotic 16th stage of the Tour de France has seen a number of leading riders left needing treatment for tear gas.
Police are understood to have used the unknown substance in a bid to disperse a group of farmers demonstrating during Stage 16 of the race.
Stephane Mahe/Reuters Police officers carry a protester off the road on Tuesday as cyclists with the Tour de France pass.
It was on the same descent that Italian Fabio Casartelli crashed and died in the 1995 Tour de France.
The incident came at the start of a stage which was won by Julian Alaphilippe, who had been chasing Yates when the Lancastrian crashed just 6.5km from the finish.
His team mate Chris Froome, who was hoping to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time, the Tour, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, cracked on the final ascent up the Col de Portet and finished 1:35 down on the stage victor.
Police were said to be arresting some protesters after farmers threw hay bales across the road before the peloton's arrival.
Frenchman Pierre Latour, who wears the white jersey for the best young rider, said he noticed police were using tear gas when he arrived at the road blockade.
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"I want to say that I'm happy to be here after that tough moment", he said.
After the Formula 1-style grid start in Bagneres-de-Luchon, which saw overall leader Thomas line up directly ahead of Froome and Dumoulin, it was Estonian rider Tanel Kangert who led the breakaway. "I was sad for (Yates) but it could have happened to me, too, because I took a lot of risks".
"When you come so close to winning a stage of the Tour it's pretty devastating."
He was gaining time in the descent when Yates went down.
Passing briefly through Spain, the route featured three climbs in the finale _ the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, the Col de Mente and the Col du Portillon _ followed by a downhill finish.
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