Snow curtailed the Queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya, allowing Janez Brajkovic (Astana) to lead home a 12-strong group who had escaped early from the peloton when the stage was ended after 155km.
But Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, winner of Paris-Nice earlier this month, teammate, Ritchie Porte, victor at February’s Volta ao Algarve, and Kanstantsin Siutsou, abandoned the stage in the treacherous conditions.
Directeur sportif, Sean Yates, said he was uncertain if the three riders would be eligible to start tomorrow’s 199km stage from Tremp to Ascó.
“The reason Bradley and Richie pulled out was because they were too cold to continue. They set out to get a result but they couldn’t keep warm enough. We’re in the dark as to whether they could start tomorrow.
“It’s a shame for us and everyone else that the conditions were such that they had to abandon the queen stage. The people who run the ski station said ‘you can’t come any further’ as it was too dangerous.
Just three of Team Sky’s six-strong team finished the stage: Rigoberto Urán, Xabier Zandio and Davide Appollonio. The British team had already been reduced to six riders by the late withdrawal through illness of Danny Pate and Michael Rogers.
The general classification remains unaffected following a decision by the race commissaires to discount times recorded on the snow-shortened stage, leaving Michael Albasini (GreenEDGE), the winner of stages one and two, in the red jersey of race leader.
Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Mickael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale) followed Brajkovic home on a stage reduced from 210.9km to 155km by heavy weather.
Volta a Catalunya stage three
1) Janez Brajkovic (SLO) – Pro Team Astana
2) Michal Golas (POL) – Omega Pharma – QuickStep
3) Matteo Carrara (ITA) – Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
4) Mikael Cherel (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale
5) Chris Anker Sörensen (DEN) – Team Saxo Bank
6) Christian Vande Velde (USA) – Garmin-Barracuda
7) Thomas Rohregger (AUT) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
8) Johann Tschopp (SWI)- BMC Racing Team
9) Steven Kruijswijk (NED) – Rabobank Cycling Team
10) Romain Bardet (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale
Volta a Catalunya general classification
1) Michael Albasini (SWI) – GreenEdge Cycling Team 7:12:12
2) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Barracuda + 1.32
3) Mikael Cherel (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale
4) Steve Morabito (SWI) – BMC Racing Team
5) Arnold Jeannesson (FRA) – FDJ-Big Mat
6) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Garmin-Barracuda
7) Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) – Lotto Belisol Team
8) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
9) Damiano Cunego (ITA) – Lampre – ISD
10) Thomas Danielson (USA) – Garmin-Barracuda