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Snow cancels final day of Mallorca Challenge

ALCUDIA, Spain (VN) — Snow and icy roads prompted officials to cancel the final day of the four-stage Mallorca Challenge on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s 160km Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana was the hardest of the four days of racing and featured five rated climbs, including the Cat. 2 Coll de Soller and the first-category Puig Major.

The Mediterranean island, which typically enjoys mild winter temperatures, was belted with a freak winter storm this week, leaving its capitol, Palma de Mallorca, dusted in snow for the first time in more than 50 years.

The higher mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana received nearly a foot of snow in some areas, making it impossible to take the race over the narrow mountain roads.

Officials were hoping that sunny skies over the past few days would help clear roads, but rain and snow moved back over the island to create more weather problems. Efforts to find an alternative route did not play out in time to hold the race.

The race was earlier forced to trim its race days from five to four due to budgetary restraints for this year’s edition. So with the weather stoppage, only three of the planned four days were held.

Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) won the first two days while Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky) won Tuesday’s third day in a hilly route to Deia.

The race saw several big names making their respective season debuts, including Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC) and the Schleck brothers (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek).

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) raced Sunday’s opener just hours before hearing he would receive a two-year ban for his clenbuterol case dating back to 2010.

Contador will be allowed to return to competition on August 6.

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