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Cyclist dies after falling into a ravine in Tour de France warm-up race, as tributes pour in
16 June 2023, 12:23 | Updated: 16 June 2023, 12:52
A professional cyclist has died after plunging into a ravine during a warm-up event for the prestigious race.
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Swiss rider Gino Mäder, 26, died after the fall during stage five of the Tour de Suisse on Thursday. The Tour de Suisse is widely considered a warm-up event for the Tour de France.
Mr Mäder was flown to hospital after the horrifying crash.
His team Bahrain Victorious confirmed on Friday that he had died from his injuries.
A team statement said: "It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of Gino Mäder.
On Friday 16th June, following a very serious crash during stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, Gino lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained.
"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.
"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 11:30am we said goodbye to one of the shining lights of our team."
Team managing director Milan Erzen said: "Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist, but a great person off the bike.
"Bahrain Victorious will race in his honour, keeping his memory on every road we race. We are determined to show the spirit and passion Gino displayed, and he will always remain an integral part of our team."
Mr Mäder became a professional road cyclust in 2019, joining Bahrain Victorious two years later. He was previously a road cyclist.
He had won stage six of the Giro d'Italia and finished top of the young rider classification at the Vuelta a Espana.
American rider Magnus Sheffield also needed treatment after going off the side off the road during the Tour de Suisse, though he was less seriously hurt.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) paid tribute to Mr Mader.
They said: "The UCI is devastated to learn of the death of professional cyclist, Gino Mäder."Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone connected with Gino who was a rising star within the professional ranks of cycling."
The Tour de Suisse added: "We are heartbroken! Gino you've been an excellent rider but even more a wonderful person!
"Always smiling and making people happy around you! Rest in peace! Our thoughts are with Gino's family!"
Mr Mader's fellow cyclists joined in the tributes.
Geraint Thomas wrote on Twitter: "I can't believe what I'm reading. Such a sad sad day. Thoughts with everyone who knew and loved Gino."
Former world champion Alejandro Valverde wrote: "There are no words. Terrible news. My support and love to his colleagues in @BHRVictorious as well as family and friends."
Race organisers said a doctor was at the scene of the crash within two minutes of it happening. It occurred with 14 kilometres of the 211km stage from Fiesch to La Punt remaining.
After the incident there was immediately criticism of a route that ended with a fast technical descent off the mountain to the finish line.
Former professional Adam Hansen, now president of the cyclists' union the CPA, wrote on Twitter on Thursday night that such finishes were a "concern for riders" and said he has been working on a presentation to put to governing body the UCI and race organisers to better ensure rider safety.