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Gino Mäder, Olympic cyclist from Switzerland, dies after Tour de Suisse crash

Gino Mader

VILLARS-SUR-OLLON, SWITZERLAND - MAY 01: Gino Mader of Switzerland and Team Bahrain Victorious takes the pose for a picture after press conference after the 75th Tour De Romandie 2022 - Stage 5 on May 1, 2022 in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images,)

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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.

The route for Thursday’s stage was later criticized by world champion Remco Evenepoel, who finished 10th 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 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.

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 after placing 74th in the Olympic road race. 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 at the race finish by a reporter 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.”