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Tour de France continues after stage 10 protest briefly neutralises race

Climate protesters Dernière Rénovation have claimed responsibility for the protest which saw demonstrators light smoke devices and sit in the road

Proceedings on stage 10 of the Tour de France were briefly halted after climate protesters lit pyrotechnics and sat in the road with around 36km to the finish.

EF Education - EasyPost's Alberto Bettiol was seen weaving past the demonstration before being stopped by a race motorbike. The peloton, seven minutes back, were then halted shortly after.

Dernière Rénovation, who also protested at last month's French Open, uploaded a picture of the protest to its website saying the action was their own: "Non-violent disruption is our last chance to be heard and avoid the worst consequences of global warming."

Live on the scene, reporting for Eurosport and GCN's coverage of the race, Sir Bradley Wiggins said: "There's obviously been a demonstration, much like they had in the UK a couple of months ago with the imbeciles sat in the road.

"Two of them had a noose around their neck. I was watching, as the French are, people get quite angry at things like this, dragging them off the road.

"You can see Pascal Lino, ex-Tour de France yellow jersey, he threw one down in the ditch and another lady had her legs under the car.

"It was quite crazy. Whatever they're protesting about, it's probably nothing, we don't need that disrupting this bicycle race. A lot of people getting quite angry, some of the directeur sportifs got out the cars, stuck a boot in. It really was going off."

Tour de France protest (GCN)
Tour de France protest (GCN)

After a short and chaotic break, where riders sat down and chatted to race organisers about how the stage would be restarted, the action continued with Bettiol, the breakaway and the peloton being allowed to start at the intervals they held the race was stopped.

Ultimately, it was the Italian's teammate and breakaway partner Magnus Cort who took a popular win at the runway above Megève, beating Nick Schultz in a gruelling final sprint after some entertaining cat-and-mouse action up the final climb.

The peloton, led by yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar, crossed the line 8:54 later, just thwarting Lennard Kämna, who finished 10th from the breakaway, the leader's jersey. Kämna sits second on GC, 11 seconds behind Pogačar ahead of tomorrow's stage which includes the double HC ascents of Cold du Galibier and Col du Granon.

Who are Dernière Rénovation?

Dernière Rénovation made headlines around the world last month when an activist tied herself to the net on the Philippe-Chatrier court during the French Open tennis tournament in Paris.

The group says it aims to "achieve a political victory over energy renovation, through non-violent disruption actions repeated over time" and is calling on the French government to commit to a comprehensive and energy-efficient renovation of all buildings by 2040.

"Our goal is to force legislation to drastically reduce France's emissions," the group's website explains. "Starting with energy renovation, the area most likely to bring together social and climate justice today. 

"Faced with the current ecological disaster, we want to demonstrate that it is possible for citizens around the world to impose on their governments the political agenda that we desperately need."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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15 comments

Avatar
srchar | 2177 posts | 1 year ago
0 likes

As far as sports go, a bike race is a pretty bone-headed choice for a protest about climate change.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to srchar | 5466 posts | 1 year ago
13 likes
srchar wrote:

As far as sports go, a bike race is a pretty bone-headed choice for a protest about climate change.

Really not so, a GT is about as far away from "green" as one can get, vast convoys of cars, bikes, coaches, planes and helicopters are needed, causing massive pollution, and that's before one even starts to consider the environmental record of some of the biggest teams' sponsors (INEOS, Citroen, Bahrain, UAE et al). Cycling is very green, cycle racing at top level (much as I adore it) is very far from being so.

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srchar replied to Rendel Harris | 2177 posts | 1 year ago
0 likes

Hence why I wrote "as far as sports go". Moving lots of people and gear around will always use energy - it's unavoidable. So what do these protesters want? The end of professional sport?

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Rendel Harris replied to srchar | 5466 posts | 1 year ago
2 likes
srchar wrote:

Hence why I wrote "as far as sports go". Moving lots of people and gear around will always use energy - it's unavoidable. So what do these protesters want? The end of professional sport?

Firstly, cycling is unique in that it's not just moving lots of people and gear around for an event, it actually requires dozens and dozens of cars and motorbikes, coaches and helicopters to follow the participants in the course of their 200 km journeys each day, that's what makes it one of the highest carbon footprint sports in the world; secondly, the protesters weren't protesting about the Tour de France and its environmental impact, they were just disrupting a high-profile event to draw attention to their message.

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srchar replied to Rendel Harris | 2177 posts | 1 year ago
0 likes

It's not unique in those regards at all.

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Rendel Harris replied to srchar | 5466 posts | 1 year ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:

It's not unique in those regards at all.

Really? What sport do you think is similar?

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srchar replied to Rendel Harris | 2177 posts | 1 year ago
0 likes

I can think of tons of sports that use helicopter pictures; Golf, F1, MotoGP, Sailing, Marathon, WRC...

I can think of tons of sports that use loads of kit. Most of those above, for a start.

The length of the journey undertaken by the participants and support vehicles is irrelevant; fractions of a single percent of the total impact, and in any case, the TdF team and media coaches don't get anywhere near the miles covered by coaches during a single weekend of English football league matches.

This is why it's unclear to me what the protestors actually want to achieve when they protest at sporting events. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

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Owd Big 'Ead replied to srchar | 336 posts | 1 year ago
1 like
srchar wrote:

This is why it's unclear to me what the protestors actually want to achieve when they protest at sporting events. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

Errr.....

Publicity.

I've protested for decades about climate change, yet it's only beensince the advent of Extinction Rebellion that my own personal actions have received any column inches in the mainstream media.

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don simon fbpe | 3234 posts | 1 year ago
6 likes

I fully support their rights to protest. After all it is only a bike race.

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ktache replied to don simon fbpe | 5920 posts | 1 year ago
1 like

I thought the "pause" was very effective and done relatively fairly.

There are far easier and much more dangerous ways of disrupting a bicycle race.

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don simon fbpe replied to ktache | 3234 posts | 1 year ago
2 likes

Given the access we, spectators, have, it's surprising there aren't more accidents. Or more events like this or more serious. I assume that the scenario is tried and tested and known by all involved.

At this stage the protests only need to be minimal, Stage 10 has been tranding across SM and even the Daily Fail was giving it a decent spread. I wonder which side the aged right wing readership went on this one.

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IanGlasgow | 348 posts | 1 year ago
6 likes

"Whatever they're protesting about, it's probably nothing, we don't need that..."

Yeah, just climate change. Just the fact that half our planet will be uninhabitable in your children's lifetime. It's nothing.

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hawkinspeter replied to IanGlasgow | 12214 posts | 1 year ago
5 likes
IanGlasgow wrote:

"Whatever they're protesting about, it's probably nothing, we don't need that..."

Yeah, just climate change. Just the fact that half our planet will be uninhabitable in your children's lifetime. It's nothing.

I see his quote as a symptom of the cult-of-celebrity. Just because someone is talented/knowledgable in their field does not mean that their opinion on other matters is useful. He's got every right to be upset about the disruption, but protests are all about disruption and sports events are ideal as they get lots of publicity.

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Mybike replied to IanGlasgow | 208 posts | 1 year ago
1 like

And yet the electric car is more environmentally unfriendly then it gas cousin. You need to take in the manufacturing aspect also and life end of the vehicle to see the whole picture Maybe they can protest at a Tesla plant

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OnYerBike replied to Mybike | 1310 posts | 1 year ago
1 like

My knowledge of Dernière Rénovation goes as far as the info provided on this page, but it doesn't appear to mention electric cars at all, does it? It says they want "a comprehensive and energy-efficient renovation of all buildings by 2040". 

As for your (apparently unrelated) point, I certainly don't think electric cars are a golden bullet but as far as I can tell over their lifetime they are better than ICE cars:

https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/lifetime-carbon-em...

https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/electric-vehicle-myths

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/26/lifetime-emissions-of-evs-are-lower-than...

https://theicct.org/publication/a-global-comparison-of-the-life-cycle-gr...

 

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