Obituary: Gino Mäder
By Anders Lorenzen
When the charismatic and much-loved road-racing cyclist Gino Mäder tragically passed away earlier this month after a horrible crash on the descent during a dangerous stage in the stage race Tour de Suisse in his homeland of Switzerland much of the post-debate will be on cycling safety. But we want to take a different approach that you’re unlikely to hear much about, how Mäder fought to address sustainability awareness through his sport.
While Mäder was known as an incredibly talented and upland coming cyclist with a talent for riding uphill, he was passionate about promoting environmental awareness and encouraging eco-friendly practices within the cycling community.
Riding for the Bahrain Victorious team, Mäder used his platform to highlight current environmental issues and advocate for sustainable practices. In an interview with Cycling News, Mader spoke about his involvement in a tree-planting initiative with his team. He emphasized the importance of taking care of the planet by saying, “It’s important for us to give something back as cyclists because we’re a sport that’s outside in nature.” He also frequently publicly used his own performance to donate money to sustainability initiatives such as tree-planting schemes.
Advocating for change
He was also proactive about making environmentally conscious decisions in his own life. In an Instagram post, he shared a photo of his new electric car and explained his reasoning behind the purchase. He wrote, “I’m very aware that as a professional cyclist, my job has a significant impact on the environment… For me, my contribution towards positively fighting global climate change is to buy this electric car.”
He was a firm believer that the cycling industry should take responsibility for its impact on the environment. He has pushed for race organizers to prioritize sustainability and evaluate their large carbon footprints. In response to criticism over the Tour de France’s environmental impact, Mäder suggested that organizers should consider reducing the number of vehicles in the race caravan and exploring more sustainable transportation options.
Mäder’s commitment to environmental issues has earned him recognition within the cycling community. In 2021, he was named a “Green Ambassador” by the Swiss cycling advocacy group IG Velo. Mader expressed his gratitude for the honour, stating that it motivates him to continue promoting sustainable practices and raising awareness about environmental issues.
In a world where climate change is becoming increasingly urgent, it is refreshing to see athletes like Gino Mäder with bravery and honesty using their platforms to inspire and demand change. One would hope that his legacy would be for other professional cyclists with a large platform to pick up where he left off and demand the cycling sports industry do more to take sustainability issues much more seriously than is currently the case.
Gino Mäder was pronounced dead on the 16th of June 2023 – rest in peace.