Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder has tragically died after being involved in a high-speed crash on a steep descent of the Albula Pass, towards the end of stage five of the Tour de Suisse.
The 26-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider, was involved in an incident with American Magnus Sheffield who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, which resulted in the Swiss falling into a ravine. He was reported to have lay motionless in the water and was unresponsive to the race doctor who was on the scene within two minutes of the accident.
Then despite being resuscitated and briefly regaining consciousness after being air lifted to Chur hospital, he sadly passed away in what was described as “an extremely unfortunate turn of events.”
The 21-year-old Sheffield was luckier and although needing hospital attention he was responsive and escaped with bruises and a concussion.
Race pays its own respects
Following the tragedy, the next stage of the race was cancelled, but the peloton did ride the final 20km of the route, in honour of their stricken colleague.
Statement from rider’s team
Gino Mäder had previously been a track cyclist before turning professional on the road in 2019 and joined his Team Bahrain Victorious, in 2021. The entire team were devastated and in a statement released soon after his passing, they said their thoughts and prayers were with Gino’s family and loved ones during what is an incredibly difficult time.
They spoke of how the rider was “one of the shining lights of our team.” Their message continued: “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.”
MD commits to keeping memory alive
Managing Director of the team, Milan Erzen said: “Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist but a great person off the bike. We will race in his honour, keeping his memory on every road we race, determined to show the spirit and passion he displayed, and he will always remain an integral part of our team.”
He went on to praise the riders dedication and enthusiasm saying he was an inspiration, and called him an “exceptional cyclist”. The cyclist’s grieving family requested privacy to mourn their loss, but expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support they had received from the whole cycling world.
Tributes from within the sport
Tour de Suisse race director Olivier Senn summed up the feeling of everyone involved when he said: “We’re heartbroken, the whole organisation, the teams and the riders. It is devastating what happened, really hard to put into words.”
He went on to say: “Gino was a fantastic rider and an excellent human, he was really a good person and he doesn’t deserve to leave the world like this.”
Thomas de Gendt, who is a five-time stage winner across the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, said: “Once again someone taken too soon; I feel sick reading this horrible news.”
Former world champion Alejandro Valverde was left speechless: “There are no words”.
Incredibly dangerous sport
This shocking death is a reminder that cycling is one of the most dangerous elite sports, with literally an accident waiting to happen at every turn. It usually takes place on closed public roads with little or no protection for any of the riders, and particularly when there is an opportunity to descend off mountain routes at speed, to make up any lost time.
There is every likelihood that the tragedy will prompt calls for greater safety measures to be introduced.
12 years since last appalling death
The last high-profile rider to lose his life at the World Tour level was Belgium’s Wouter Weylandt, who crashed at the Giro d’Italia back in 2011, after suffering awful head injuries, when descending at great speed.