"Snow and freezing ice forced the shortening of the Queen stage of climbing for the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Wednesday. The last two climbs were cancelled, including the finish on the HC-rated Port Aine. Short notice and an arbitrary finish that the riders had to actually look for caused concern, dismay and disappointment for the hard-working, mostly frozen peloton.
“What a chaotic day,” said an exasperated team director José Azevedo after the shortened stage. “It’s more than an hour after the finish and nobody knows what will happen with the GC. The organizers decided to stop race after 155k today. At that particular moment, many riders high in the GC were dropped. So what will they do about the results? When they came on race radio and told us where the finish would be, it was too late to catch the breakaway. It’s not really fair.”
Azevedo also expressed personal dismay at the behavior of some riders in the peloton, too: “What’s happening with cycling?” he asked. “After only 5k of racing there was a massive crash. Jakob was part of the crash. Normally the peloton would wait for everyone to get back on their bikes. Not anymore. There was no waiting. It’s a war out there every day and there is no solidarity. It’s unbelievable.”
Team rider Thomas Rohregger was part of a 12-man breakaway that were away from the peloton with a ten minute gap when the announcement came that the race would be shortened. “There wasn’t even a finish line set up,” said Thomas. “When we saw the UCI officials on the side of the road we started to sprint. It all makes this look like a low level amateur race. It’s such a pity after such a hard day.”
Prior predictions of weather interring with a successful ride to the Port-Ainé came true as the mountain top finish was removed from the route, shortening the length from 210.9km to 155km. Astana rider Jani Brajkovic took the stage win ahead of Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Michal Golas and Michael Cherel of AG2R La Mondiale.
Many riders abandoned today, including Tiago, Andy and Ben for RSNT. The three riders were suffering from the cold and it was impossible for them to continue on the dangerous and icy descent."
Regarding the GC, GreenEDGE just tweeted: "This just in. UCI has decided not to count time from
#VoltaCatalunya stage three toward overall. Michael Albasini remains in race lead."