Martin Lange with AFP / DARIO BELINGHERI / AFP
8:35 p.m., June 16, 2023
Swiss rider Gino Mäder, 26, succumbed to his injuries Friday morning after suffering a heavy fall Thursday at the end of the 5th stage of the Tour de Suisse, his team announced. “Despite the efforts of the phenomenal team at Chur Hospital”, where he had been transported on Thursday after being resuscitated, the climber “was unable to complete his last and greatest challenge and at 11:30 a.m. we had to say goodbye to one of the lights of our team,” Bahrain-Victorious wrote in a statement.
Gino Mäder had fallen in the dizzying descent of the Albula Pass
Gino Mäder, then 27th in the general classification, fell on Thursday afternoon at km 197 of the queen stage of the Swiss event, between Fiesch and La Punt, in the vertiginous descent of the Albula pass after an exhausting day marked by three ascents beyond 2,000 m. altitude.
He had been found “inert in the water” of a ravine below the road, “immediately resuscitated then transported to the hospital in Chur by air”, had indicated the organizers, specifying that “the seriousness of his injuries had not yet been established”. But the next day, “Gino lost his fight to recover from the serious injuries he had suffered,” explained the Bahrain-Victorious. “Our entire team is devastated by this tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers are with Gino’s family and loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.”
The descent of Albula also saw the American Magnus Sheffield fall in the same place, who remained conscious but hospitalized
The descent from Albula also saw the American Magnus Sheffield (Ineos-Grenadiers) fall in the same place, who remained conscious but hospitalized with “bruises and a concussion”, according to the organization. As of Thursday evening, the world champion Remco Evenepoel had deplored on Twitter the choice to complete this trying stage with such a route. “Since a finish at the top would have been perfectly possible, it was not a good decision to let (the runners) finish with this dangerous descent”, had written the Belgian.
The German Simon Geschke (Covidis) had replied to him, before the announcement of Mäder’s death, that the descent to La Punt – a classic of the Tour de Suisse – “was not dangerous, with good roads, no tunnels , perfectly visible bends”. “But I agree that in the last 10 kilometers of a race, it’s looking for trouble. But it’s the riders who take risks, in my opinion, not only on the descents”, had he continued.
The fatal fall of Gino Mäder recalls those of Weylandt and Casartelli
The fatal fall of Gino Mäder recalls those of the Belgian Wouter Weylandt in 2011, in the descent of the Passo del Bocco, 25 km from the finish of the 3rd stage of the Giro, and of the Italian Fabio Casartelli in 1995, in the descent du Portet d’Aspet during the 15th stage of the Tour de France.
The International Cycling Union announced new measures at the end of 2020 to secure the routes after the very serious fall of the Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen during the Tour of Poland a few months earlier, but they mainly concerned arrivals in the massive sprint.