Team Bahrain Victorious Honouring Gino Mäder in Switzerland 

The upcoming Tour de Suisse will be an emotional edition for Team Bahrain Victorious. Following the tragic loss of our beloved rider & friend, Gino Mäder, one year ago during his home race, not a day goes by without us thinking of him and keeping his memory alive in every race in which we participate. Riding each day in his honour has become a heartfelt tradition, and we will ride with even more dedication at this year’s Tour de Suisse, which sees the first anniversary of his passing on June 16th.

Team Bahrain Victorious Sports Director, Roman Kreuziger, comments: “Last year was incredibly tough, and returning to the Tour de Suisse brings back many memories. We want to focus on the positive ones—Gino’s passion, dedication, and enthusiasm. Our aim is to do our best and hopefully, dedicate a win to him.”

TBV welcomes the various activities planned by the race organisers and Gino’s family, including a memorial ride arranged by the #rideforGino association on the anniversary, from Aigle to Villars. Additionally, the Tour de Suisse organisation, in agreement with Gino’s family, will dedicate the highest point of the race to him with the #rideforGino Mountain Prize for the winner.

Kreuziger adds: “It would be meaningful if one of our riders could win this memorial prize. We don’t have a clear GC leader because we want to see how Damiano Caruso feels after the Giro d’Italia and evaluate his potential. He finished the first Grand Tour of the season strongly, so I am confident in his capabilities if he feels mentally prepared. Alongside Damiano, we have Wout Poels, who is on the long list for the Tour de France. He is in good shape, and some of the finishes suit him well.”

“Our team is well-balanced, with Johan Price-Pejtersen, Fran Miholjevic, and Andrea Pasqualon supporting in the flat sections and approaching the climbs. We have four climbers, including Finlay Pickering and Torstein Træen. Our focus isn’t so much on the GC, however we aim to finish as high as possible and if we could win a stage that would be amazing.”

The Tour de Suisse kicks off on Sunday, June 9th in Lichtenstein with a short, flat prologue time-trial. “It doesn’t seem too technical,” Kreuziger explains. “I have high expectations for our specialists Fran and Johan, and hopefully Damiano and Wout can defend well against the other GC contenders.”

From Vaduz to Villars-sur-Ollon, the 8-stage race will cover 950 kilometres with nearly 19,000 meters of altitude gain. As usual, it’s a parcours that suits the climbers, with four mountain finishes in a row on the Gotthard Pass, Carì, Blatten, and Villars-sur-Ollon.

“We expect a showdown for climbers, with many ascents to showcase their strength. The initial stages are relatively easier. In Regensdorf and Rüschlikon, we might see sprint finishes or at least reduced bunch sprints. On stage 2, I hope Andrea can perform well in the sprint. Stage 3 is trickier with challenging terrain in the last 50 kilometres and a punchy finish. We need to be ready and race smart.”

From stage 4, the race becomes tougher, concluding on the Gotthard Pass after a 34 km ascent at 4.6%. “It’s demanding, finishing at around 2000 meters. It’s all about the legs,” states Kreuziger.

Stage 5 features another challenging climb day with early climbs (5.9km/7.4%, 8.8km/9.1%) and an uphill finish in Carì (11.6km/7.6%). “This stage is one of the hardest due to the tough start. I hope Finlay and Torstein can make the break and secure a good result.”

The Queen stage on June 14th includes the Nufenen Pass, the highest point of this year’s Tour de Suisse. “It’s a long, hard climb, followed by an uphill finish to Blatten. I hope to see our climbers in the mix.”

The final two stages, will be around Villars-sur-Ollon, with a mountainous circuit on Saturday and an uphill time-trial on Sunday. “Saturday will be intense and all about the legs, with the decisive GC day on Sunday – a course we know well from past races and where two years ago in the Tour of Romandie Caruso performed very well.”

Before the Tour de Suisse, Bahrain Victorious will participate in the 60th Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau, a one-day race on June 7th. “We’ve raced here before and know what to expect. We’ll start with six riders, as Caruso joins us for the Tour de Suisse. I’m particularly keen to see how Pickering and Træen perform, as both are recovering from recent injuries. Andrea Pasqualon will be our road captain, guiding the younger riders. Fran Miholjevic and Johan Price-Pejtersen will take care of the guys paying attention at the start, while we expect Wout Poels to be strong in the final.”

While it won’t be easy to repeat last year’s podium (3rd place with Pello Bilbao), we aim to compete for a top-five finish.”

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