Bahrain-Victorious Gino Mäder Exits Tour de Suisse With 2 Teams

Organizers of the Tour de Suisse bicycle race said they would resume multi-stage competition on Saturday, one day after a rider died from injuries sustained in a high-speed downhill crash.

The driver, Gino Mäder, is a member of the Bahrain-Victorious team, which announced on Saturday morning that it was withdrawing from the race. Two other teams Tudor Pro And Intermarché-Circus-Wantyalso said they had decided to drop out of the race.

The Bahrain-Victorious team's driver, as well as the other competitors, were notified of Mäder's death Friday morning – a day after he went off the track and fell down a steep ravine. Riders participated in a short commemorative ride on Friday that replaced that day's stage, which was cancelled.

But with the race, one of the key tuneups for next month's Tour de France, set to return for its final two competitive stages this weekend, Bahrain-Victorious confirmed on social media on Saturday morning that its team would not be taking part.

“Following the tragic loss of Gino Mäder,” the team said in a post on Twitter, “Team Bahrain Victorious has taken the decision to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse.”

The other two teams quickly followed. Both cited the welfare of their riders in their decision to drop out. “In these difficult circumstances we feel this is a human way of respecting the feelings of our riders and respecting Gino,” said a Tudor Pro statement.

Race officials said late Friday they had made a decision to continue racing in consultation with the Mäder family, one of Switzerland's best young drivers. The four-stage women's event will start on Saturday as planned.

“After consulting with everyone involved, we as management are united behind this decision and are trying to hold the last two stages of the men's race in a suitable arrangement,” said the tour's race director, Olivier Senn, in a statement.

“Today is the worst day of my life,” Senn added in the statement. “But tomorrow is a new day, and that's what we have to look after as an organization.”

Police are currently investigating the crash, and officials are reportedly interested in hearing from any witnesses who may have seen and filmed the episode.

Mäder crashed with American, Magnus Sheffield, on Thursday towards the end of the fifth stage of the week-long race, which ended with the final drop at the Albula Pass. The last section where the crash occurred, just after a downhill bend on an unprotected road with mountains to its left and a sharp drop just beyond its right bank, was largely empty as drivers passed.

Photographs of the crash area show what appear to be two sets of tire tracks leading to the edge of the sharp drop above the Mäder and Sheffield crash sites.

Mäder and Sheffield were cared for where they rested, near a set of drainage pipes going down a long slope. Sheffield, who reportedly had a concussion and cuts and bruises, appeared to be able to walk back up the hill with assistance. Race officials said Mäder was revived at the scene after being found “unmoving in the water”. After initial treatment, he was evacuated from the scene by helicopter.

At least one rider, defending champion Remco Evenepoel, stated that the course did not have to be too dangerous.

“I hope that today's stage final will become food for reflection for both the cycling organizers and ourselves as racers,” Evenepoel he 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 riders, we also have to think about the risks we take when going down the mountain.”