Cyclist's Death Rocks the Tour de Suisse

Gino Mader, 26, of Switzerland collided with US rider Magnus Sheffield during steep descent
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2023 11:33 AM CDT
Swiss Cyclist Dies After Crash With American
Switzerland's Gino Mader celebrates after winning the sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Grotte di Frasassi to Ascoli Piceno on May 13, 2021.   (Massimo Paolone/LaPresse via AP, File)

A Swiss cyclist has died following a brutal crash with an American rider during the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse. With less than 10 miles left in the 131-mile leg, Gino Mäder, 26, collided with Magnus Sheffield at high speed while descending the Albula Pass toward La Punt on Thursday. "Mäder fell into a ravine and was found motionless in the water," CNN reports. He was resuscitated and rushed to a hospital but "lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained," his Bahrain Victorious team announced Friday.

Mäder, a former track cyclist who took to the road professionally in 2019, previously won stages of the Tour de Suisse and Giro d'Italia. "We are devastated" by his loss, said team managing director Milan Erzen. "Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist, but a great person off the bike," he continued, adding the team "will race in his honor, keeping his memory on every road." Tributes also poured in from cyclists and the Tour de Suisse, which said it was "heartbroken" by the loss of an "excellent rider" and "wonderful person."

"His death is a reminder that cycling is one of the most dangerous high-profile elite sports," one that "takes place on closed public roads with little or no protection for riders who are under pressure to make up time while descending off high mountain climbs," wrote BBC cycling reporter Matt Warwick. "While descending is a big part of what makes professional road cycling so enthralling for its fans, Mäder's death must reopen debate into whether changes should be made to such a risky endeavor."

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Before Mäder's death was announced, fellow rider Remco Evenepoel of Belgium tweeted that "it wasn't a good decision to let us finish down this dangerous descent." He added "the final of today's stage is food for thought for both cycling organisers as well as ourselves as riders." Sheffield, 21, also suffered injuries in the crash. He was hospitalized overnight with a concussion and soft tissue damage, per CNN. Stage six was canceled Friday, though riders were expected to complete a short ride in memory of Mäder, per PA Media. (More cycling stories.)

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