It seems like the overarching story in European cycling this week has been snow. After Het Volk fell victim to snowy roads last year, forcing its cancellation, early season promoters crossed their fingers, hoped for the best, and, in the case of Het Volk, bought insurance in case things went white again. Though they both featured snow showers and freezing temperatures, the opening weekend duo of Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne fared well this year.

Just a week later (and thus seemingly with a week’s better chance at good weather), the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen didn’t fare as well. Organizers called off the first stage last Friday after just 70 kilometers, when snow began to pile up on the roads and made life in the peloton and the caravan a little too sketchy, even by local standards.

While everyone trucked back to their hotels and organizers tried to look on the bright side, the snow continued to pile up through the evening. Still not quite ready to admit defeat, organizers hatched an unsuccessful plan to race Saturday’s stage on a local circuit rather than the planned 185k. (Similar to a plan that saved this year’s Univest Grand Prix in Pennsylvania, which was ravaged by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan.) The organizers finally acquiesced when they awoke to more snow Saturday, canceling the race completely, and freeing themselves from another night of staring at whatever the Belgian equivalent of the Weather Channel is. A second race in Flanders scheduled for Sunday, the Vlaamse Pijl, was also cancelled due to the snow.

All of which begs the question: how do you plow cobblestones? Apparently, you can't. A little rough on the plow blade, I'd guess.

Snow also got the better of the second stage of Paris-Nice today, shortening the planned 144.5k run between La Chatre and Thiers to a 45k sprint from Aigueperse to Thiers. Yes, that’s just a little less than half the length of the average professional criterium here in the States. The way this circus worked was to have the riders all sign in at the original start village, then have everyone pack up and drive the first 99.5 kilometers for the start. From there, riders faced one intermediate sprint (won by race leader Dekker), the remaining one of five planned Cat. 3 climbs, and a bunch sprint finish.

It all sounds like kind of a joke, especially when many of the classics are roughly 200k longer than this stage. But, you have to give credit to ASO, they got the word out early, everything seemed to move smoothly, and they avoided an outright cancellation, which is a lot better option for the sponsors, the finish town, and the riders. It worked out extra well for Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), who snatched his second stage win and the leader’s jersey—not bad for 45k of work. Boonen had already dedicated his Stage 1 win to his best friend Dieter, who perished last weekend in a skiing accident in Germany. See—snow.