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Climate Activists Block Tour de France Route — Furious Spectators Literally Drag Them Away

Climate change activists tried to block the Tour de France on Saturday, but were hauled off the road by spectators even before the police could respond.

The annual spectacle has drawn protests earlier this month that have involved smoke bombs and protesters trying to glue themselves to the pavement.

On Saturday, eight members of Dernière Rénovation (Last Renovation) tried to stop the race during the 20th stage between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadouron, according to the Daily Mail.

Fans dragged them away until police could come to arrest them.

The lack of sympathy many offered was summed up Friday by rider Philippe Gilbert, who commented upon a different protest.

“It’s a bit disappointing because there are other ways to protest. I hope they will be punished in proportion to their stupidity,” he said.

A statement released by the group noted that “today’s action is the fourth in a series of disruptive actions that will continue until there is a credible and effective government commitment to isolate buildings.”

“If nothing is done, the climate crisis will devastate entire swaths of our planet, as its disastrous consequences in our country have already witnessed this summer, and will condemn billions of people to death,” the statement said.

In a separate press release, the group said: “We will start again as many times as necessary to make our government react. Not a day should go by without the climate emergency being at the heart of the political agenda.”

Coming as it did amid a scorching summer, the race was surrounded by questions of whether the heat was hurting the athletes, according to The Washington Post.

“One of the appeals of endurance sports is that we mythologize suffering: It’s about pushing the limits of human capabilities,” said Stephen S. Cheung, a competitive cyclist and professor of kinesiology at Brock University, where he researches the effects of environmental stress.

“The question we as a society have to ask is: Are we putting athletes into undue harm’s way in the quest for that kind of athletic spectacle?” he said. “How much is enough?”

Some say the race may have to change if summer heat becomes a permanent fixture.

“We’re going to have to change the way the Tour de France is designed in the next few years,” said Matthieu Sorel, a climate change expert at France’s meteorological service . “It won’t be possible to ride with such temperatures during the afternoon.”

The race was won by Jonas Vingegaard, 25, of Denmark, according to The New York Times.

27 Comments
  • Carmen says:

    Welcome back Tour de France. Super to watch and to stand on the side lines while they raced
    through our village. From Dec 2000 to Dec 2007; my husband and I were able to watch this every season. We always flew American flags for the American team as they passed by.

    The French have more manners and respect for visiting Nations than we do now for America.

    All I can say is BRAVO for not letting these A$$ holes ruin this great sport. The Climate wack
    jobs have no idea how they can really injure the cyclist by enterfering with them BUT because they are s-o-o-o-o stupid/inconsiderate, it never dawns on them. They too could get injured, the dummies.
    Hope the French kicked the crap out of them. Good for them. Bravo. Never interfere with French sports. They take them seriously.

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