The Tour de Suisse cycling race resumed multi-stage competition on Saturday, a day after a rider died from injuries he sustained in an accident during a high-speed mountain descent.
The rider, Gino Mäder, was part of the Bahrain-Victorious team, which announced on Saturday morning that it was withdrawing from the race. Two other teams TudorPro And Intermarché-Cirque-Wantyalso said they had decided to quit the race.
The Bahrain-Victorious team riders, along with the rest of the competitors, were notified of Mäder’s death on Friday morning – a day after he left the course and tumbled down a steep ravine. The riders took part in a shortened commemorative race on Friday which replaced the day’s stage, which was canceled.
But with the race an important tune-up for the Tour de France next month, which is set to return for its final two competitive stages this weekend, Bahrain-Victorious confirmed on social media on Saturday morning that his team would not be taking part. not.
“Following the tragic loss of Gino Mäder,” the team said in a post on Twitter, “Team Bahrain Victorious has made the decision to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse.”
Two other teams soon followed suit. Both cited the welfare of their riders in their decisions to retire. “In these difficult circumstances, we believe it is the humane way to respect the feelings of our riders and pay tribute to Gino,” Tudor Pro’s statement said.
Race officials said on Friday evening that they had made the decision to go ahead with the race in consultation with the family of Mäder, one of Switzerland’s top young riders. A four-stage women’s event started on Saturday as planned.
“After consultation with everyone involved, we as management are united behind this decision and are trying to hold the final two stages of the men’s race in an appropriate setting,” said tour race director Olivier Senn. , in a press release.
“Today was the worst day of my life,” Senn added in the statement. “But tomorrow is a new day, and that’s what we have to deal with as an organization.”
Police are investigating the accident and officials are said to be interested in hearing from witnesses who may have seen and filmed the episode.
Mäder crashed out with an American rider, Magnus Sheffield, on Thursday near the end of the fifth stage of the week-long race, which culminates in a final descent over the Albula Pass. The final section where the crash occurred, just after a steep downward curve on an unprotected road with mountains to its left and a steep drop just beyond its right edge, was largely empty when riders crossed it.
Photographs of the crash area showed what appeared to be two sets of tire tracks leading to the edge of a steep drop above the site where Mäder and Sheffield fell.
Mäder and Sheffield were treated where they came to rest, near a set of drainpipes on a long slope. Sheffield, who reportedly suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises, appeared to be able to get back up the hill with help. Race officials said Mäder was revived at the scene after being discovered “immobile in the water”. After initial treatment, he was evacuated from the scene by helicopter.
At least one rider, reigning world champion Remco Evenepoel, suggested the course didn’t have to be so treacherous.
“I hope today’s stage finale will give food for thought both to the cycling organizers and to ourselves as riders,” Evenepoel said. said on Twitter after the accident but before the severity of Mäder’s condition was known. “It was not a good decision to let us finish this dangerous descent. As runners, we also have to think about the risks we take when descending a mountain.