Sandra Mäder was nervous all day before the tragic crash that took the life of her son, Gino. The Swiss rider fell during Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse on a descent and was rushed to hospital, and died the next day.
“Believe me or not, I was nervous all day. I didn’t know why. And then someone asked me if Gino would be at the Tour de France. And I replied that you can never know for sure,” she said in an interview with Südkurier. “One fall–and everything can be over. That’s what I said.”
The fateful day
The Bahrain-Victorious rider was descending from the Albula Pass towards La Punt, when he fell. The precise cause of his fall is still unknown. He would eventually tumble down into a ravine, where emergency personnel found him lying unconscious.
The day before the tragedy, Sandra Mäder had begun her vacation. “I went to the Tour de Suisse, spoke to Gino Mäder about an upcoming trip, and asked him if I shouldn’t cancel it,” she said. “But he said I should go there, after all, I deserved it.”
A flurry of text messages from friends
She watched some of the stage on TV, and even thought she saw her son cross the line. Then, she suddenly started receiving several text messages, asking if Gino was OK. She was confused, but didn’t think too much of it, and left the house. ex-husband, Gino’s dad called her.
“Go home immediately and call me,” he said.
“What’s going on?” She asked. “What’s wrong with Gino?”
“Go home, call me,” he said.
The hospital visit
The two parents then went to the hospital, and were greeted by seven doctors. Sandra got to see her son, and noticed a small cut, but didn’t think he looked that bad. Later that night, the grim diagnosis is delivered. Gino’s head injuries were too severe, rendering any assistance futile. The decision is made to discontinue medication, and after a twelve-hour period, tests will be conducted to determine if any brain activity remains. The doctors then gave Gino’s parents the options.
The options are presented
“If brain activity were present, the machines would have to be switched off. If he hadn’t breathed on his own, he would have suffocated. If he was breathing, no one could have said whether he had done it for a minute, an hour, a day or ten years,” she said. “But the doctor told me that Gino would never be able to say ‘mommy’ again, that he would stay in bed forever like…