Julian Alaphilippe emerged victorious after a dramatic 16th stage of the Tour de France, taking advantage of Adam Yates' crash in the closing 10 kilometres.
The early stages of Tuesday's 218km route from Carcassone to Bagneres-de-Luchon were marred by ugly scenes as, less than 30km in, the race was temporarily stopped by angry protesters.
A number of farmers attempted to block the road with hay bales before being detained by police, while some riders had to stop and receive treatment after struggling with the after-effects of what was reported to be tear gas used by the authorities to quell the troublemakers.
The race resumed in a neutralised mode just over 10 minutes later, and riders were free to compete once again after 33km.
After a largely flat opening 150km, the peloton knew three intense climbs stood between them and the descent to the finish, where Yates came unstuck.
Along with brother Simon, Yates had signed a fresh deal with Mitchelton-Scott on Monday's rest day, and it looked as though he would celebrate with stage victory.
However, after reaching the summit of Col du Portillon with close to a 20-second lead over Alaphilippe, Yates slipped on a left-hand bend and hit the deck, allowing the Quick-Step Floors man to whizz past.
Yates did recover to finish third, recording the same time as Bahrain-Merida's Gorka Izagirre, although the duo were unable to reel in Alaphilippe, who coasted home 15 seconds clear to add to his stage-10 victory.
There was no such drama further back, where Team Sky duo Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome came home safely in the peloton, meaning the former continues to lead his colleague and defending champion by one minute and 39 seconds in the general classification.
'A VERY CRAZY DAY'
The stage winner summed it up perfectly.
"Today, it was a very crazy day. A lot of pain in my legs, and I think for everybody," Alaphilippe said. "I cannot believe I win for the second time today. I knew the finale, especially the last climb and the downhill. I'm so happy."
It seemed there was no lasting damage for Yates, although Mitchelton-Scott's description of his injuries was perhaps not for the faint-hearted.
"On first assessment Adam Yates doesn’t appear to have any major injuries but he has lost a lot of skin. We will continue to monitor him overnight," read a post from the team's Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Dan Martin, who sits 10th in the GC, appeared to take the early protests and the subsequent substance problems in good humour.
"What was it, mace? That's a new experience. I'm always open to new experiences but pepper spray during the race... you could feel it in the lungs there for a bit. It wasn't exactly pleasant," he said.
"But they dealt with it pretty well and the medical team gave the guys who needed it some attention. Bizarre, though."
STAGE 16 RESULT
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 05:13.22
2. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0.15
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0.15
4. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0.15
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +0.18
1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 68:12.01
2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +1.39
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1.50
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 452
2. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 170
3. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 133
King of the Mountains
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 122
2. Warren Barguil (Team Fortuneo-Samsic) 73
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 30
With only four competitive stages remaining, the rest of the peloton need to start making inroads into Team Sky's advantage if they are to wrest the yellow jersey away from Thomas and Froome, starting with Wednesday's 65km route between Bagneres-du-Luchon and Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet – the shortest normal stage of the past 30 years