A professional cyclist has died after crashing during the Tour de Suisse – as a world champion criticised the decision to “let us finish down this dangerous decent”.
Gino Mader, 26, fell down a ravine as he approached the end of Thursday’s mountainous fifth stage.
The Swiss rider crashed on a fast downhill road and medical staff performed CPR at the scene before he was airlifted to Chur hospital, where he later died from severe injuries.
“Despite the best efforts of the phenomenal staff”, he “couldn’t make it through this, his final and biggest challenge”, his team Bahrain Victorious said on Friday.
“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.”
A second rider, Magnus Sheffield, also crashed at the same spot. The American suffered a concussion and bruises and was treated at a local hospital.
Thursday’s route has been criticised by Belgium’s world champion Remco Evenepoel, who finished 10th in stage five and is fourth in the overall standings.
“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 Twitter.
“As riders, we should also think about the risks we take going down a mountain.”
‘Extremely talented cyclist’
Bahrain Victorious’s managing director Milan Erzen said: “We are devastated by the loss of our exceptional cyclist, Gino Mader. 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.”
Teams and riders have been reacting to the news of Mader’s death.
“I can’t believe what I’m reading. Such a sad sad day. Thoughts with everyone who knew and loved Gino,” Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion, said on Twitter.
“No words. RIP Gino. My thoughts are with your family and friends,” added Ineos Grenadiers racer Michal Kwiatkowski.
The Tour de Suisse is a preparation race ahead of next month’s Tour de France.
Mader’s death was announced about 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the sixth stage in the eight-day race. The start was delayed.
Mader won a stage of the 2021 Giro d’Italia, and went on to finish fifth overall that same year at the Vuelta a Espana. Earlier this year, he was fifth at Paris-Nice.