Race jury decides to cancel stage three of Paris-Nice because of heavy snow and freezing temperatures on the course

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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.

>>> It’s snowing at Paris-Nice and some people really aren’t happy about it

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.

Geraint Thomas after the cancellation of stage three of the 2016 Paris-Nice (Watson)

Geraint Thomas after the cancellation of stage three of the 2016 Paris-Nice (Watson)

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.

Sam Bewley after the cancellation of stage three of the 2016 Paris-Nice (Watson)

Sam Bewley after the cancellation of stage three of the 2016 Paris-Nice (Watson)

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