Tour de France fans ignore calls for calm as lit flare is hurled into peloton before world champ Peter Sagan claims his third stage win

A LIT flare was hurled into the peloton before Peter Sagan bagged his third stage win – as Tour de France fans ignored pleas for calm.

Team Sky's riders once more appeared to be targeted, the day after four-time winner Chris Froome was slapped and apparently spat on.

 Stage 13 was won by BORA-Hansgrohe's Slovak Peter Sagan, ahead of UAE Team Emirates' Alexander Kristoff  and France's Groupama-FDJ ace Arnaud Demare

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Stage 13 was won by BORA-Hansgrohe's Slovak Peter Sagan, ahead of UAE Team Emirates' Alexander Kristoff  and France's Groupama-FDJ ace Arnaud Demare

Yellow-jerseyed Geraint Thomas and Co were on the right of the leading bunch when a missile spewing yellow smoke came over his team before bouncing down the road away from cyclists

But the Team Sky star revealed he had been too focused on the "stressful" 13th stage to spot the flare.

He said: "I didn't actually notice it. Sixteen kilometres to go, did you say? I was fully in the zone then fighting for position.

"It was pretty stressful so I had no idea."

 Fans wave Aussie flags on the 13th stage, from Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence

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Fans wave Aussie flags on the 13th stage, from Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence
 Fans run alongside, from right, Colombia's Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, France's Romain Bardet (rear) and Colombia's Nairo Quintana

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Fans run alongside, from right, Colombia's Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, France's Romain Bardet (rear) and Colombia's Nairo Quintana

The latest disturbing incident came as riders and fans amassed on the 169.5km stage from Bourg d'Oisans to Valence.

Just hours earlier Tour director Christian Prudhomme called for improved behaviour at the roadside after trouble spilled over on the Alpe d'Huez on Thursday.

At least one fan hit Froome, whilst another one seemed to spit at him.

On the same stage Vincenzo Nibali's Tour ended with a fractured vertebrae after he crashed when touching a spectator.

 Spectators run next to Holland's Steven Kruijswijk in the ascent to l'Alpe d'Huez on the twelfth stage on Thursday

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Spectators run next to Holland's Steven Kruijswijk in the ascent to l'Alpe d'Huez on the twelfth stage on Thursday

Prudhomme said: "We need to restore calm and respect all the riders.

"It was a very annoying climb of the Alpe d'Huez.

"The riders on the Tour, and champions of the Tour, must obviously be respected, as they are by the large majority of the public.

"By the roadside it was very calm for 10 days, with only a few anti-Froome or anti-Sky placards.

"But at a stroke, it all went up again.

 Another dramatic example of closeness of riders and fans as Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet, centre climbs the Plateau des Glieres ascent on the tenth stage

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Another dramatic example of closeness of riders and fans as Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet, centre climbs the Plateau des Glieres ascent on the tenth stage

"I can only renew my appeals for calm, for common sense, with regards to the riders who make up the Tour de France."

And, also before Friday's stage, Froome had demanded more protection for riders.

He said: "I think the organisers had tried to put in a few special precautions to stop those kind of things happening.

"When you've got fans touching and interfering with the riders, who are doing everything to try and get up the climb, that's not a situation anyone wants to see. That's not acceptable.

"I was pushed a few times but thankfully I stayed on my bike and didn't get knocked off."

 A fan on a horse cheers on the riders in a more light-hearted moment on the Tour

Reuters
A fan on a horse cheers on the riders in a more light-hearted moment on the Tour

He added: "[Appealing for calm] is a step in the right direction but I think there are more measures that can be taken, for sure."

Meanwhile, Thomas admiited he was unsure why he was booed when picking up the yellow jersey in Valence.

He said: "I think that's a question for the people out there. I don't know.

"We just train hard, work hard and come here to try to win the race. That's a question for the people on the side of the road."

 Steven Kruijswijk rides through fans towards l'Alpe d'Huez on the 12th stage

AFP
Steven Kruijswijk rides through fans towards l'Alpe d'Huez on the 12th stage

A LIT flare was hurled into the peloton before Peter Sagan bagged his third stage win – as Tour de France fans ignored pleas for calm.