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French Police Open Fire On Car Trying To Crash Tour de France Barricades

In a surprising development ahead of today's final stage of the Tour de France, earlier today Paris police opened fire on a car that tried to crash a barricade set up on Place de la Concorde ahead of the final arrival of the Tour de France cycling race, France 24 reports citing a police official.

The shooting incident took place as the French capital is on maximum alert to welcome the final stage of the Tour de France.

Luc Poignant, a spokesman with the SGP police union, said officers were finishing setting up the barricades for the race when the car tried to crash through the barriers. Officers opened fire on the car, which ultimately drove away.

The Place de la Concorde is located near several key official buildings, such as the Élysee palace or the US embassy in Paris.

According to French BFMTV, the car was traveling at a high speed when crashed into another vehicle before smashing the protection fences installed on the Place de la Concorde for the final leg of the Tour de France race, according to the broadcaster. French police then opened fire on the car, but failed to stop the vehicle.

The French media further adds that the incident took place around 10am BST, while the car driven by the suspects was a black Renault.

The car escaped with its two occupants apparently unharmed, according to Poignant. A search is underway for the suspects and a warrant has been issued for the driver's arrest.

The Guardian adds that according to the French police the incident was neither aimed at the cycling race nor was terror-related. At least that is the narrative as of this moment. It may well change in the coming hours.

The final stage of the Tour de France is due to begin at 4:35 pm (14:35 GMT), leaving from Sevres, a town southwest of Paris. The riders are then due to arrive in the French capital at around 5:30 pm (15:30 GMT and do 10 laps around the Champs-Elysees before finishing at Place de la Concorde at about 7 pm (17:00 GMT).