With the death of Gino Mäder the Tour de Suisse 2023 will be remembered in the chronicles of the event as one of the most tragic. But alongside the terrible tragedy history will also record the name of Mattias Skjelmose as the worthy winner of the 86th edition of the men’s race.
Today saw the culmination of the 86th Tour de Suisse. In the final Time Trial, every single second had to be contested. Young Spaniard Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) was only eight seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step). In the heat of St. Gallen, however, the stage victory was not enough to claim victory in the overall classification.
Skjelmose Pulls out all the Stops
Danish rising star Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) prevailed over Ayuso by only nine seconds following the heart-stopping finale. Third overall was Remco Evenepoel. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) secured the black Points Jersey of react, while Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto Dstny) claimed the KOM honours awarded by Bank WIR. The Lend.ch Youth Jersey also went to GC winner Skjelmose.
Dressed in the yellow jersey of Primeo Energie, the young Dane told the media: “I wanted to win for Gino today! He was a wonderful character and gave so much to everyone in our cycling family. I wanted to give something back”. The new Tour de Suisse Champion was emotional as he crossed the line and faced the media afterwards with great humility.
An Ideal Start in Einsiedeln
Looking back it was the perfect start to the Tour de Suisse from a local perspective. Stefan Küng’s win in the individual Time Trial in Einsiedeln and his subsequent day in yellow provided a fantastic atmosphere which continued from Einsiedeln to Beromünster and Nottwil on the second stage. The Eritrean fans were ecstatic with Biniam Girmay’s sprint victory in Nottwil. In the final climb to Villars-sur-Ollon the fight for the GC started to take shape. The young guns headed by Mattias Skjelmose caused a stir, and there were three young pros under the age of 25 at the top of the overall classification after the second mountain finish in Leukerbad.
The Queen Stage from Fiesch to La Punt was supposed to be a great cycling festival. The tragedy that unfolded is now well known. After a neutralised 6th stage, World Champion Remco Evenepoel took a solo victory on Stage 7. This he dedicated to Gino Mäder. “I rode the stage my way, full throttle and with the intention of winning the stage for Gino,” said Evenepoel at the finish.
Gino Mäder – We Will Miss You
The loss of Gino Mäder has naturally overshadowed the sporting action and resulted in great sadness throughout the entire cycling community. The memorial ride to Oberwil-Lieli on the neutralised 6th stage gave the peloton, the organisation and the fans on the roadside a chance to say goodbye. “These have been emotional days that the whole Tour de Suisse team will never forget,” said Tour Director Olivier Senn, speaking on behalf of all those involved. “Continuing the Tour de Suisse was not an easy decision and it was only taken after consultation with Gino’s family, our staff and the teams, so from our point of view, it was the right decision,” Senn continued.
The Tour de Suisse Women continues for two more days through eastern Switzerland with finishes on Monday and Tuesday in Ebnat-Kappel.