Tour de France rider Philippe Gilbert has emerged unscathed after a horror crash over a wall.
The Quick-Step Cycling ace hurtled into a low wall during the descent Ported d’Aspet on the 16th stage of the race – having attempted a breakaway.
As he arrived at a left bend, Gilbert struggled to slow his bike down and took both feet of the pedals to create friction with the ground.
The 36-year-old couldn’t stop in time and ended up head over handlebars as he was flung into a ravine.
But within seconds, Gilbert was sat on the wall receiving a check over from medics before he quickly got back underway – and amazingly caught up with the peloton within an hour albeit clutching his arm.
The Tour de France tweeted: “We’ve all been very scared, but Philippe Gilbert is OK and will go back on the bike.”
Quick-Step added on Twitter: You gave us quite the scare, Philippe Gilbert. Several minutes after crashing, Philippe is back on the bike and in the race.
Team Sky tweeted: “We’re relieved to see Philippe Gilbert back up and racing after a bad crash while descending the Portet d’Aspet.
“Great to see a thumbs up as he gets back on the bike.”
Earlier, The Tour turned into the Tear de France today as the race was sensationally halted by protesting farmers – after police used tear gas or pepper spray to disperse them.
Barely 40 minutes out of Carcassonne, on the 135-mile stage 16 to Bagneres de Louchon, riders complained bales of hay strewn across the road by stroppy farmers.
Police outriders desperately tried to clear the road by removing the straw bundles in the nick of time before the peloton arrived – but the situation escalated into something more serious.
As the gendarmes made several arrests by the roadside, TV pictures showed at least one officer apparently used pepper spray or tear gas to disperse the protest.
But with virtually no wind to disperse the noxious substances, several riders pedalled straight into the lingering fumes and several members of the peloton, including race leader Geraint Thomas and world champion Peter Sagan, complained of streaming eyes.
Race director Christian Prudhomme decided to halt the race after 20 miles as riders formed a long queue at the medical car for help with rinsing their eyes.
The race resumed after a 10-minute delay with a neutralised roll-out.