The spring cycling season is well underway in Europe, and the early dates on the calendar are proving problematic for riders and organizers at the Paris-Nice stage race.
Stage 3 through Beaujolais wine country was to feature seven climbs, but snow and cold greeted riders at the start and then caused the peloton to be neutralized about halfway through the stage and sent ahead to a new starting point.
Conditions continued to deteriorate and the stage was eventually canceled altogether. The race will resume Thursday with a 195.5km ride from Julienas to Romans-sur-Isere, with more wet and cold weather forecast.
The weather led to scenes one might expect at the Winter Olympics rather than an elite road race.
Most riders had fun with the situation and applauded the decision to scrap the stage, though many also wondered why there wasn't a backup plan in place or why the race is held at this early date at all.
A shame with all the technology we have nobody can make a decision be4 the stage as our team knew that there will be snow at the feeding— Andre Greipel (@AndreGreipel) March 9, 2016
The riders are plenty tough enough to handle the snow. Not an issue. Issue is the bikes don't have snow tires for the descents.— Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) March 9, 2016
Anyway, good that they cancelled the stage. I think esp in a stage race that decision is very important for the remainder of the race.— Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) March 9, 2016
Maybe there was another road we could have taken to get to the finish, that didn't go as high? And we could have raced #justathought— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) March 9, 2016
Great we have an extreme weather protocol now but how about we just move the whole calendar back 1 month. I hear April in France is lovely.— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) March 9, 2016