Team Bahrain Victorious had already withdrawn from the race on Friday, and Tudor and Intermarche joined them in solidarity prior to Saturday’s seventh stage. Despite the organisers’ decision to continue the race after consulting the teams and Maeder’s family, Tudor and Intermarche felt it was necessary to withdraw.
Tudor announced their decision on Twitter, stating, “After careful consideration and talking to both riders and staff, the team decided not to continue racing this year’s Tour de Suisse. Under these difficult circumstances, we feel it is the human way to respect the feelings of our riders and pay respect to Gino.”
Intermarche echoed this sentiment, posting on social media, “After consultations with our riders and staff, we have decided to withdraw from the Tour of Switzerland. Our priority is to respect the mental health of our riders.”
Following the news of Maeder’s tragic passing, a 20-kilometre ride was organised in his honour, replacing the sixth stage. However, the organisers ultimately decided against cancelling the entire tour.
“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,” said race director Olivier Senn on Friday.
Maeder’s untimely death prompted an outpouring of tributes from the cycling community, with two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar posting on Instagram, “Rest in peace! I will miss you.” Primoz Roglic, another Slovenian cyclist and recently crowned Giro d’Italia winner, tweeted, “Speechless.”
The seventh stage, scheduled for Saturday, would have taken the cyclists on a 184-kilometre ride from Tubach to Weinfelden. The eighth and final stage on Sunday is a 26-kilometre time trial from St. Gallen to Abtwil.
(With inputs from AFP)