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“I wanted to win for Gino, everyone today raced for him”: Mattias Skjelmose dedicates Tour de Suisse victory to “wonderful” Gino Mäder

“I wanted to give something back to him because he gave so much to a lot of other people”

A sad, surreal few days at the Tour de Suisse finally came to an end this afternoon as Trek-Segafredo’s 22-year-old Danish talent Mattias Skjelmose produced a sensational final time trial to hold off stage winner Juan Ayuso and secure the overall victory by just nine seconds.

Of course, the results of the 2023 Tour de Suisse will forever be overshadowed by the tragic death on Friday of Gino Mäder, the talented, intelligent, and much-loved Swiss rider who sadly passed away the morning after crashing on a descent during Thursday’s fifth stage.

> Swiss pro cyclist Gino Mäder dies after horrific Tour de Suisse crash

Aside from the brief burst of sporting action this afternoon, the race since then – which continued with the blessing of the Bahrain-Victorious rider’s family – was one long, hazy mournful procession, the shockwaves of Mäder’s death felt not just by his loved ones or the Tour de Suisse peloton, but the entire cycling community.

And it was for that community which Skjelmose, who admitted he didn’t know the popular 26-year-old personally, spoke as he dedicated the biggest win of his career to Gino following today’s time trial.

“Of course it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, a big high with my stage win in Villars-sur-Ollon to a much bigger low with Gino’s death,” the 22-year-old Dane said.

“I wanted to win for Gino, I think everyone today raced for him. I wanted to give something back. Everyone I spoke to said he was the most wonderful person you could ever imagine.

“Sadly I didn’t know him personally but I wanted to give something back to him because he gave so much to a lot of other people.”

> "Terrible blow to cycling": Amidst inconsolable grief, tributes pour in for "massively talented" Gino Mäder

And, combined with his obvious, blistering, promising talent on a bicycle, it’s that impact on other people and the world around him that will provide Mäder with perhaps his most enduring legacy.

“Smart and polite, rational and loyal like few” was how Bahrain-Victorious teammate Damiano Caruso described the 26-year-old in one of the many heartbreaking messages that flooded social media following Friday’s devastating, unimaginable news.

Another teammate, the Australian Jack Haig, described his friend as “not only as a fantastic and hardworking cyclist, but also as a wonderfully intelligent person with a deep curiosity for everything around you.”

Gino Mader at Giro d'Italia 2021 stage 6 (CorVos/SWpix)

On his way to winning stage six of the 2021 Giro d’Italia (CorVos/SWpix)

That deep curiosity for things was famously embodied in the Swiss rider’s decision to adopt a stray dog from the streets of the Bilbao, named Pello – after his teammate, Pello Bilbao – and his staunch environmental activism.

In a sport where others turn a blind eye to the ever more obvious effects of climate change, Mäder proved a wonderful ambassador for cycling’s green consciousness.

At the 2021 Vuelta a España, his breakthrough grand tour performance where he finished fifth overall, and during the 2022 season, he donated 1CHF for every rider he beat to regreening charities aiming to cool down the planet, raising thousands in the fight against climate change.

One of those charities, Justdiggit, said it was “shocked and saddened” by the 26-year-old’s death.

“Being a kid I had the chance, the luck to see glaciers,” Mäder tweeted in August last year. “’The face of the Alps’, ‘Eternal ice’.

“Nothing eternal about them as the glaciers of the world lose around 300 billion tonnes of ice every year. I hope future generations can experience glaciers too.”

The ice may not be eternal, but the impression he left on everyone and everything he touched will ensure that Gino Mäder’s name will be.

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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