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Barry Ryan

Tour de Suisse united in mourning for Gino Mäder

The original profile of stage 6. The stage has been shortened to 141km, missing out on the early climbs of the Albulapass and Lantsch. (Image credit: Getty)

All thoughts at the Tour de Suisse today are for Gino Mäder, who remains in hospital after his crash on the descent of the Albulapass yesterday afternoon. His Bahrain Victorious team provided its most recent update on his condition yesterday evening, confirming that he had been resuscitated at the scene of the crash and then transported by helicopter to Chur Hospital. Magnus Sheffield was also a faller on the descent, and the Ineos rider spent last night in hospital after being diagnosed with a concussion.

Today’s stage, meanwhile, has been shortened to 141km due to a rock avalanche above Brienz, meaning that the early climbs of the Albulapass and Latsch have been stricken from the route of day that now gets underway at 12.30 CET. Simone Giuliani has more details here.

Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) regained yellow yesterday but it's still very tight atop the overall standings, with Felix Gall (AG2R Citroen) second at 8 seconds, and yesterday's winner, a resurgent Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), third at 18 seconds. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep), meanwhile, remains firmly in the hunt given the time trial on the final day. The top 10 is as follows:

(Image credit: FirstCycling)
(Image credit: Getty)

Gino Mäder, 1997-2023

Bahrain Victorious have announced the death of Gino Mäder following his crash on yesterday's stage.

"It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of Gino Mäder. On Friday 16th June, following a very serious crash during stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, Gino lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained. Our entire team is devastated by this tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers are with Gino's family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

"Following the high-speed incident which occurred on the final descent of Thursday’s stage, the 26 year old was resuscitated at the scene by medical staff who also performed CPR, before being airlifted to hospital.

"Despite the best efforts of the phenomenal staff at Chur hospital, Gino couldn’t make it through this, his final and biggest challenge, and at 11:30am we said goodbye to one of the shining lights of our team.

"Gino was an extraordinary athlete, an example of determination, a valued member of our team and the whole cycling community. His talent, dedication, and passion for the sport has inspired us all.

"Managing Director Milan Erzen commented this morning:” "We are devastated by the loss of our exceptional cyclist, Gino Mäder. His talent, dedication, and enthusiasm were an inspiration to us all. Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist, but a great person off the bike. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time. Bahrain Victorious will race in his honour, keeping his memory on every road we race. We are determined to show the spirit and passion Gino displayed, and he will always remain an integral part of our team.

"Gino’s family has requested privacy as they mourn their loss, and we kindly ask that their wishes be respected. The team and family express our gratitude for the overwhelming support we have received from the whole cycling world.

"Gino, thank you for the light, the joy, and the laughs you brought us all, we will miss you as a rider and as a person.

"Today and every day, we ride for you, Gino."

Today's stage has been delayed until further notice following the tragic news. I don't see how the riders who raced alongside Gino Mäder yesterday can possibly be expected to climb on their bikes and compete this afternoon.  

Marcel Sieberg of Tudor Cycling consoles Bahrain Victorious staff at the start of stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse. (Image credit: Getty)

The race organisation has confirmed that today's stage of the Tour de Suisse has been neutralised. The peloton will ride the final 30km of the route together in memory of Gino Mäder, as per the wishes of his family. “The peloton will ride the final 30km," said the Tour de Suisse organisation. "The race will be neutralised today and all the riders will form a cortege in memory of Gino Mäder as they ride to the finish line.”

Tour de Suisse race director Olivier Senn: “We’re all devasted – the organisers, the teams, the riders, everybody. What happened is really terrible and it’s difficult for me to speak because Gino was a wonderful person who didn’t deserve to leave this world in this way. Everybody knew him and everybody loved him. We won’t race today but we want to remember him and pay tribute to him by riding the finale of the stage. We’ll all ride together as a group to the finish line in memory of Gino.”

The riders of the Tour de Suisse are travelling by bus before riding the final 20km of stage 6 in memory of Gino Mäder. (Image credit: Getty)

The peloton is expected begin riding the neutralised final 20km of the stage at 16.00 CET, reaching the finish line in Oberwil-Lieli at 16.40

(Image credit: Getty)

Gino Mäder was an undoubted talent on the bike, as his stage win at the 2021 Giro d’Italia and his fifth-place finish at that year’s Vuelta a España’s testified, but it was his immense human qualities that left the greatest impression on all who met him. His interviews, both in races and away from them, were testament to a range of interests that extended far beyond the bike, with a particular emphasis on environmental issues.

Professional cycling has a tendency to take itself very seriously – too seriously – at times, but Mäder’s freewheeling attitude always felt like an antidote to all that. A sense of fun pervaded his every act on a bike and his every utterance off it. His enthusiasm for cycling and, above all, for the people he met through the sport was obvious, and his death has sparked a sincere outpouring of grief from his peers and from all those who watched him race.

Race organier Olivier Senn with yellow jersey Mattias Skjelmose. (Image credit: Getty)

The Tour de Suisse peloton is currently pedalling gently towards the finish line in Oberwil-Lieli, united in remembrance of the late Gino Mäder. The riders, many of whom are donning black armbands, are taking it in turns to pedal at the head of the bunch. We imagine that Mäder's Bahrain Victorious teammates will lead the peloton across the finish line. 

As well as the poignant, rolling eulogy to Gino Mäder currently unfolding on the road to Oberwil-Lieli, many more tributes have been paid from the peloton and from across cycling to the late rider in the hours since his tragic death at the age of 26.  

Gino Mäder’s Bahrain Victorious teammates Pello Bilbao, Nikias Arndt, Filip Maciejuk, Fran Miholjevic, Johan Price-Pejtersen and Antonio Tiberi are all riding these doleful 20km towards the finish of stage 6. (Image credit: Getty)

Bahrain Victorious lead the peloton up a short climb, to hushed but heartfelt applause from the spectators gathered at the roadside. 

Tour de Suisse director Olivier Senn leads the peloton as it pays tribute to the late Gino Mäder. (Image credit: Getty)

The Bahrain Victorious riders and team cars have moved to the very head of the peloton as they enter the final kilometre of this tribute to Gino Mäder.

The only sound at the finish is of gentle applause as first the Bahrain Victorious riders and then the rest of the peloton cross the finish line. Some of the Bahrain riders raise a hand to acknowledge the outpouring of sympathy from the roadside. Pello Bilbao points to the sky in memory of his friend and teammate.  

We have, sadly, witnessed other rolling memorials like this over the years. Motorola led the peloton over the line in Pau at the 1995 Tour de France in memory of Fabio Casartelli. Leopard Trek and Tyler Farrar paid a similar tribute to Wouter Weylandt in Livorno on the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Lotto Soudal led the Tour de Pologne peloton to the finish in Kocierz following Bjorg Lambrecht’s death in 2019. On each of these sorrowful occasions, the solidarity of the peloton has been deeply affecting and beyond the description of mere words.

The Bahrain Victorious team pays tribute to the Gino Mäder. (Image credit: Getty)

In the saddest imaginable circumstances, yellow jersey Mattias Skjelmose put the peloton's day into words. "I’m sad. It was really weird to be on the bike today. It hit me really hard when I saw only six Bahrain riders going over the line together. That was something really pushing me to the limit emotionally," said Skjelmose. 

Like most at the Tour de Suisse, he hasn't had time to give any consideration to whether the race should proceed this weekend.

"For now, we only did 20k neutralised and I think that was right because Gino’s parents wanted it," he said. "I don’t know what’s happening in the next days. And I’m not sure how I really feel about it myself. Right now I just want to go home and sleep."

World champion Remco Evenepoel consoles Gino Mäder’s mother Sandra. (Image credit: Getty)
The Bahrain Victorious team at the finish line. (Image credit: Getty)

Gino Mäder’s mother Sandra followed today's memorial ride from a Bahrain Victorious team car, and she was consoled by many of the rider's colleagues and friends when they reached the finish line.  

Race director Olivier Senn has indicated that no decision has yet been taken over the continuation of the Tour de Suisse. "Today it's all about Gino," he said, according to Blick. "I spoke to his parents. They don't want us to be sad. We will conduct the discussions as to whether and how to proceed. But we won't push anything."

Olivier Senn has since spoken in a press conference at the finish. “It was a very intense last hour and really hard to take in the sitation," he said. "It was truly a beautiful celebration in memory of Gino, even though it was definitely the hardest day of my life and the hardest hour of my life. You never think of that when you run the race. It’s all adrenaline and full gas to the finish and now it was completely the opposite.

“I think it’s really important that we keep Gino in a positive memory. He was a happy rider and an open rider, an intelligent person who thought beyond cycling. This is what we should keep in memory. I certainly will and I hope the cycling world will as well.”

Senn confirmed that no decision has been taken over whether the race will continue. Discussion will take place in the next hours with the UCI, CPA and AIGCP, though a final decision might not arrive until tomorrow morning. 

"Regarding tomorrow and the next stages, we will start the discussions after this," Senn said. "It’s not a simple decision. There’s a lot of people involved who are very moved by the situation: riders, team members and our staff. Everybody knew him well. 

"We will have to discuss if it’s at all possible to organise a race, and if our staff is up for it. We will certainly not push it through just because we want to or have to. We will do it if everyone wants it, if everyone is fit and if the mindset is the right one to produce a safe race tomorrow and the day after. 

"We will also discuss with the UCI, the AIGCP and the UCI on what we’re going to do. It will be an open discussion. We will take a common decision. It’s not just our decision but a decision of all the parties. Those discussions will take place in the next hours and maybe the decision will only be tomorrow morning. We don’t know yet."

(Image credit: Getty)

Alasdair Fotheringham has written this obituary for the late Gino Mäder. He was a rider and a man apart. "The results were only ever a small part of the story," Alasdair writes. "As Friday's outpouring of grief and sadness has shown, it is Gino Mäder the person, the rider who always looked beyond himself and to the world beyond cycling, who will be missed the most." 

A full account of the Tour de Suisse peloton's tribute to Gino Mäder is available here.

(Image credit: Getty)
(Image credit: Getty)

Stefan Küng paid this tribute to Gino Mäder in an interview with L’Équipe TV. The Swiss rider was among the first to seek out Heidi Mäder and offer his condolences at the finish line. “I knew him well, given that he was a Swiss pro rider and there aren’t so many of us,” Küng said. “I don’t really have any words, my thoughts are just with his family and his loved ones. Gino was just a marvellous guy, he was very courteous and very empathetic. He often thought of others and he know he was privileged to be able to do this sport. He was just a very good person.”

Gino Mäder, 1997-2023 (Image credit: Getty)
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