Alexander Bolshunov had been tipped as a contender for today's stage before the cancellation ©FIS

The International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross-Country World Cup leg in Obertsdorf today, which doubled as the fourth stage of the Tour de Ski, has been cancelled due to a thunderstorm.

It was announced by the FIS today that the men's and women's sprint competitions will not be rescheduled, meaning that the Tour will now only have six stages.

A severe rain storm and thunder and lightning battered the German resort, with it reported that at least one tree fell on the course.

Qualification and sprint finals were due to take place today over 1.2 kilometres for women and 1.5km for men.

"Today's sprint competition in Oberstdorf, Germany has been cancelled due to severe weather," the world governing body posted on Twitter. 

"The Tour will now only have six total competitions. 

"The sprint will not be replaced."

Norwegian skier Martin Johnsrud Sundby is among those to have already questioned the cancellation, however, suggesting it could have been postponed instead.

"I do not fully understand that we could not go here now," he told NRK.

"We could have gone well now, there was no problem."

A rest day was held yesterday after an opening three days in the Swiss resort of Lenzerheide.

Action in Germany is due to continue tomorrow with the free technique mass start competitions, held over 10km for women and 15km for men.

Skiers will then head to Val di Fiemme in Italy for the final two legs of the series on January 6 and 7.

Switzerland's Dario Cologna currently leads the men’s competition, with Sergey Ustiugov of Russia trailing by 22.6 seconds.

Alexander Bolshunov, another Russian, lies third at 55.5 seconds down.

The women's standings are led by Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, who boasts a 32.8 second advantage over compatriot Heidi Weng.

The United States' Jessica Diggens currently completes the top three, but trails the leader by 1min 26.9sec.