The riders at the Tour de Suisse will not contest Friday’s sixth stage, and will instead take part in a tribute ride to Gino Mäder.
The 26-year-old died on Friday morning, following a high-speed crash on a descent in the closing kilometres of Thursday's fifth stage. He was treated at the scene and airlifted to hospital, where he later passed away as a result of his injuries.
Ahead of stage six’s rescheduled start in Chur, the teams gathered to mourn the loss of Mäder and discuss options for the day’s racing. The race organisers have since revealed that the stage will not go ahead as planned, with the peloton instead riding the final 20km neutralised.
"We ride for you Gino," the Tour de Suisse wrote on Twitter. "The peloton will ride the last 20 kilometres of today's course neutralised in honour of Gino Mäder. Expected finish in Oberwil-Lieli is 16.40h [15:40 BST]."
There will be no winner declared for the stage.
This is how we will always remember you❤️ With a big smile on your face! The peloton will ride the last 20 kilometres of today's course neutralised in honour of Gino Mäder. Expected finish in Oberwil-Lieli is 16.40h..We ride for you Gino❤️ pic.twitter.com/B27VmMqpuzJune 16, 2023
Addressing the media on the ground, race director Olivier Senn said: “Today is about [Mäder] and no one else and nothing else. So what we will do now is we will plan to do a memory ride on the last part of the course. There will be no start here [in Chur], we will [re]locate to a location that we don’t know yet - we’re busy planning - and we will ride neutralised as a group ride in memory of Gino to the finish.”
Senn looked visibly shaken when giving his statement, and told the press: “It’s hard to think straight.”
“It’s obviously the worst possible outcome of the accident. We are heartbroken, the whole organisation, all the teams, the riders. It’s just devastating what happened. It’s really hard to put in words.
"We just stood together with all the teams and riders in memory of Gino. That’s really all that counts for us at the moment. Gino was a fantastic rider and an excellent human. He was really a good person and doesn’t deserve to leave the world like this."
The cycling world reacted with deep sorrow to the news of Mäder’s death, which came just before stage six was scheduled to begin. The stage had already been postponed and shortened due to a landslide, with the opening 75km removed from the original 215km route.
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