Gino Mader’s Death Rocks Tour de Suisse: Teams Withdraw Amidst Controversy
Although Gino Mader’s Bahrain-Victorious squad and two other teams dropped out of the multistage race on Saturday, the organizers have stated that they will finish the competition this coming weekend.
One day after a cyclist in the Tour de Suisse cycling event passed away as a result of injuries he got in an incident that occurred during a high-speed mountain descent, the battle for the several stages of the race resumed on Saturday.
Gino Mader was a rider with the Bahrain-Victorious team, which started on Saturday morning that it would be pulling out of the event. Bahrain-Victorious was one of the teams competing in the race. Tudor Pro and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty are the names of the other two teams that have announced their intention to withdraw from the competition.
The riders of the Bahrain-Victorious team and the other participants were told of Mader’s passing on Friday morning — a day after he slipped off the route and fell down a steep ravine the day before. Mader had gone off the course the day before. On Friday, the cyclists took part in a memorial ride that was cut shorter than usual to make up for the stage that was supposed to take place that day.
But Bahrain-Victorious stated on social media early Saturday morning that its squad will not be participating in the event, which was an essential tuneup for the Tour de France which will take place in a month. The race will return this weekend for its last two competitive stages.
The team announced their decision to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse in a message on Twitter, writing, “Team Bahrain Victorious has taken the decision to withdraw from Tour de Suisse following the tragic loss of Gino Mader.”
Two additional teams swiftly followed in their footsteps. Both parties justified their intentions to withdraw by stating that they were concerned for the health of their riders. According to a statement released by Tudor Pro, the company feels that “under these difficult circumstances it is the human way to respect the feelings of our riders and pay respect to Gino.”
Late in the day on Friday, officials of the event announced that they had decided to continue with the competition after consulting with Mader’s family. Mader was one of the most talented young riders in Switzerland. On Saturday, as scheduled, the first step of a four-stage competition for women got underway.
“After consultation with all of the people involved, we as the management stand united behind this decision and are trying to hold the last two stages of the men’s race in an appropriate setting,” Olivier Senn, the tour’s race director, said in a statement. “We are trying to hold the last two stages of the men’s race in a setting that is appropriate.”
Senn continued by saying, “Today was the worst day of my life,” which was also included in the statement. “However, tomorrow is a new day, and this is something that we as an organization need to take care of.”
The accident is being investigated by the police, and investigators are reportedly keen on speaking with any witnesses who may have witnessed and filmed the event.
On Thursday, towards the end of the fifth stage of the weeklong race, which culminates with a final descent down the Albula Pass, Mader and an American rider named Magnus Sheffield were both involved in a collision. When the riders went through the final portion where the accident happened, which was shortly after a sweeping downhill curve on an exposed road with mountains to its left and a sharp drop-off just beyond its right edge, it was largely empty. This was the section when the riders crashed.
Photos taken in the vicinity of the accident scene revealed what looked to be two separate sets of tire tracks leading to the edge of a steep drop-off that was located above the location where Mader and Sheffield were injured.
Both Mader and Sheffield were attended to at the location where they had fallen asleep, which was beside a group of drainage pipes at the bottom of a steep slope. Although it was claimed that Sheffield had suffered a concussion in addition to scratches and bruises, it appeared that he was able to walk back up the hill with assistance. According to the officials of the race, Mader was given CPR at the spot after being found “motionless in the water.” After receiving initial medical attention, he was airlifted away from the area in a helicopter after further evaluation.
At least one rider, the currently incumbent world champion Remco Evenepoel, expressed the opinion that the course did not need to be quite as perilous as it was.
Evenepoel posted on Twitter shortly after the accident occurred, but before it was known how serious Mader’s injuries were, “I hope that the final of today’s stage is food for thought for both cycling organizers as well as ourselves as riders,” he said. Mader’s condition was not immediately known at the time. “It was not a wise choice to continue allowing us to make our way down this perilous slope. As riders, we ought to also consider the dangers we expose ourselves to when descending a mountain.