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Teams withdraw from Tour of Switzerland in wake of Maeder tragedy

Bahrain Victorious rider Gino Maeder fell to his death during the Tour of Switzerland on Thursday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Tudor Pro Cycling and Intermarche teams withdrew on Saturday from the Tour of Switzerland following the death of Swiss cyclist Gino Maeder.

Maeder, who rode for Team Bahrain Victorious, fell into a ravine in the downhill finale of Thursday’s fifth stage and succumbed to his injuries aged 26 on Friday.

His team withdrew on Friday and they were joined by Swiss outfit Tudor and Belgian rivals Intermarche prior to Saturday’s seventh stage. 

Their withdrawals comes despite organisers saying they had decided to proceed with the remainder of the race after consulting both the teams and the rider’s family.

Tudor, though, tweeted it could not carry on.   

“After careful consideration and talking to both riders and staff, the team decided not to continue racing this year’s Tour de Suisse,” Tudor tweeted.

“Under these difficult circumstances we feel it is the human way to respect the feelings of our riders and pay respect to Gino,” it added.

Intermarche followed suit.

“After consultations with our riders and staff, we have decided to withdraw from the Tour of Switzerland,” Intermarche posted on social media.

“Our priority is to respect the mental health of our riders.”

Following the news of his death, the cyclists took part in a 20km ride in his honour replacing the sixth stage.

Organisers however decided against cancelling the tour altogether.

“After an emotional day and a very touching ride in memory of Gino Maeder, it was decided in consultation with the family of Gino Maeder that the Tour of Switzerland will continue,” the race director Olivier Senn said Friday.

Maeder’s death sparked many tributes led by two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar, who posted on Instagram: “Rest in peace (heart icon) I will miss you.”

Pogacar’s fellow Slovenian and recently-crowned Giro d’Italia winner Primoz Roglic tweeted: “Speechless.” 

The seventh stage on Saturday was due to take the cyclists on an 184-kilometre ride from Tubach to Weinfelden.

The eighth and final stage Sunday is a 26-km time-trial between St. Gallen and Abtwil.

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