Stage three of Paris-Nice was neutralised and then cancelled as heavy snow hit the route between Cusset and Mont Brouilly.
The race jury and organisers took the decision to end the stage early shortly before the 100km mark, with teams tweeting pictures of the wintry conditions at the feed station a few kilometres beforehand.
Originally the stage was neutralised until the 125km mark, but several minutes later the race was stopped and riders took shelter as they waited for team vehicles to pick them up. Temperatures reportedly dropped as low as minus five degrees Celsius on the course.
While the times of the stage will be forgotten and will not affect the overall leaderboard, the jury said the points picked up in the intermediate sprint and in the three classified climbs to that point will count in the respective competitions.
This means that Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) retains the race lead going into stage four, sitting 14 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) remains in fifth place, 19 seconds behind.
Overall standing after stage three
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, 9-41-50
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, at 14 secs
3. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale, at 19 secs
4. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Movistar
5. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky, all same time
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana, at 24 secs
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling, at 25 secs
8. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ, st
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, at 27 secs
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC, st
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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