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Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder dies from injuries suffered in crash during Tour de Suisse

The 26-year-old Mäder crashed on a fast downhill road approaching the end of the mountainous fifth stage into La Punt

Gino Mader
Gino Mader waits for the start of the 7th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, in Notaresco, Italy, on May 14, 2021.Massimo Paolone/LaPresse (AP)

Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder died Friday, one day after crashing and falling down a ravine during a descent at the Tour de Suisse, the Bahrain-Victorious team said. The 26-year-old Mäder crashed on a fast downhill road approaching the end of the mountainous fifth stage into La Punt.

“Gino lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained,” the team said in a statement. “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 11:30 a.m. we said goodbye to one of the shining lights of our team.”

Medical staff who reached Mäder found him motionless in water. They performed CPR before he was airlifted to the hospital.

“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,” Bahrain-Victorious said.

The Tour de Suisse is a preparation race ahead of next month’s Tour de France.

Mäder’s death was announced about 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the sixth stage in the eight-day race. The start was delayed and riders gathered in a silent tribute before the stage was canceled.

Race organizers said the peloton would ride together in tribute to Mäder for the final 30 kilometers (18 miles) of Friday’s scheduled route. The race should resume Saturday.

“Devastated by the news,” said world champion Remco Evenepoel, who is in fourth place in the race standings. “My heart and strength is with Gino’s family, friends, teammates.”

Evenepoel earlier criticized Thursday’s stage after finishing the day in 10th place. “While a summit finish would have been perfectly possible, it wasn’t a good decision to let us finish down this dangerous descent,” Evenepoel wrote on his Twitter account. “As riders, we should also think about the risks we take going down a mountain.”

A second rider also crashed at the same spot. Magnus Sheffield of the United States sustained a concussion and bruises and was treated at a local hospital.

In previous incidents, Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt was killed in a crash on a descent at the Giro in May 2011. Another Belgian rider, Antoine Demoitié, died after crashing at the one-day Gent-Wevelgem race in March 2016.

Mäder was one of Switzerland’s best young riders. He won a stage at the 2021 Giro d’Italia and placed fifth overall in the Spanish Vuelta that year. He also was fifth in the Paris-Nice stage race in March.

“We are heartbroken,” Tour de Suisse organizers said in a statement. “Gino, you’ve been an excellent rider but even more a wonderful person. Always smiling and making people happy around you.”

Mäder was asked on Sunday by a reporter at the race finish what would make him happy at the end of the week-long race. “If I’m still healthy and I enjoy my home race, maybe have some success with the team,” Mäder had said.

Team manager Milan Erzen praised the rider, saying his “talent, dedication, and enthusiasm were an inspiration to us all.” “Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist,” Erzen said, “but a great person off the bike.”

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