If sporting performance was very secondary, on Saturday June 17, on the roads of the Tour de Suisse, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) signed the most beautiful tribute on his bike. The day after the announcement of the death of Gino Mäder, victim of a fall on Thursday, Evenepoel won the seventh stage of the race, starting alone 17 kilometers from the finish. Rainbow jersey on the back, the 23-year-old world champion dedicated this victory to Gino Mäder, turning to the camera with his finger raised towards the sky a few meters from the finish, then reproducing this gesture at the time to cross the line.
Before the Belgian’s attack, the atmosphere was inevitably heavy during the day. Thirty-six riders among the 150 appearing in the general clification had decided not to take the start, in particular those of the Bahrain-Victorious teams (the formation of Mäder), Tudor Pro Cycling and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty.
For their part, the organizers had chosen to maintain the race “in agreement with the family of Gino Mäder”, and to freeze the times 25 km from the finish to avoid taking risks in the final part of the stage. It was finally Evenepoel who won alone, while the Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) took second place by taking the best of the rest of the peloton in the sprint. Frenchman Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) finished third.
Van der Poel shines at the Tour of Belgium
According to Evenepoel, the favorites had agreed not to pack the race before this 25 kilometer barrier so as not to make any gaps in the general standings. “We decided between riders placed in the general clification not to attack each other” before the final, confirmed the Belgian at the start. The day before, the fifth stage had been neutralized to allow the peloton to pay tribute to the 26-year-old Swiss rider.
The Tour de Suisse is due to end on Sunday with an individual time trial of 25 kilometers between Saint-Gall and Gaiserwald. Dane Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) will defend his leading position there, especially against Evenepoel, who will have to catch up with a 46-second delay.
A few hundred kilometers further north, another cycling figure also stood out on Saturday. Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel won the fourth stage of the Tour of Belgium alone, after going into exile at the head of the race thanks to a sharp attack 36 kilometers from the finish. This success allows the leader of the Alpecin-Deceuninck team to consolidate his lead in the general clification.
The World with AFP (with AFP)