Updated: Brajkovic wins weather-shortened Catalunya stage, GC neutralized

Astana rider wins third stage while snow falls at planned finish, while officials cancel GC

Rain, snow and wind forced organizers to whack 50km off Wednesday’s queen stage at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, but that was just fine with Astana’s Janez Brajkovic.

The slender Slovenian climber darted to victory in the weather-shortened stage and rode into the race leader’s jersey in the weeklong WorldTour race across Spain’s scenic Catalunya region.

Brajkovic was away in a 12-man breakaway early in the stage when riders still expected to race the entire 210km from La Vall D’en Bas to Port-Ainé.

Foul weather blew through northern Spain, dumping snow, ice and rain on the higher climbs, making it impossible for organizers to safely conduct the race. A number of riders, including Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) abandoned the race, but officials announced hours later that the general classification would be neutralized and the abandoned riders allowed to continue. While Brajkovic’s victory would have delivered him the overall lead (though no jersey ceremony took place), Michael Albasini (GreenEdge), winner of stage 1 and 2, will retain the top spot on GC.

Brajkovic out-kicked Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to claim the victory while Mickael Cherel (Ag2r La Mondiale) was third. Chris Sorensen (Saxo Bank) came across the line fourth.

Brief Unofficial Results
1. Janez Brajkovic, Astana
2. Michal Golas, Omega Pharma-Quick Step
3. Mickael Cherel, AG2R La Mondiale
4. Chris Sorensen, Saxo Bank

General Classification
1. Michael Albasini, GreenEdge