Heavy snow fall and sub-zero temperatures led to the cancellation of the third stage of 2016 Paris-Nice on Wednesday.

The riders had started the stage in Cusset on schedule, but conditions rapidly deteriorated and the race organiser deemed that the road used on the Col des Echarmeaux had become dangerous.

“The road was extremely slippery and the safety was no longer guaranteed,” said ASO cycling director Christian Prudhomme. “We are sorry. That’s Paris-Nice. We promise we’ll come back to Mont Brouilly. It’s a pity but the riders will start again tomorrow from Julienas.”

>>> Paris-Nice stage three cancelled due to adverse weather conditions

As the stage was neutralised, there was no change to the overall classification. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) leads by 14 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), with Patrick Bevan (Cannondale) in third at 19 seconds.

>>> Riders react to the cancellation of stage three at Paris-Nice

British overall hope Geraint Thomas (Sky) is fifth at 19 seconds.

The race resumes on Thursday with stage four, from Juliénas to Romans-sur-Isère covering 195.5km. Paris-Nice concludes on Sunday, March 13.