Swiss cyclist Gino Mader has died at the age of 26 after falling into a ravine at the Tour de Suisse on Thursday, the Bahrain-Victorious team has announced.

Mader was involved in a high-speed crash on the descent of the Albula Pass late on stage six of the race along with American Magnus Sheffield, with both riders falling into a ravine.

Mader had been found "motionless in the water" according to a race statement, before being resuscitated by race doctors at the scene and airlifted to hospital in Chur.

However, Mader lost his fight for life on Friday morning.

"It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of Gino Mader," a team statement said. "On Friday 16th June, following a very serious crash during stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, Gino lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained.

"Our entire team is devastated by this tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers are with Gino's family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

"Following the high-speed incident which occurred on the final descent of Thursday's stage, the 26-year-old was resuscitated at the scene by medical staff who also performed CPR, before being airlifted to hospital.

"Despite the best efforts of the phenomenal staff at Chur hospital, Gino couldn't make it through this, his final and biggest challenge, and at 11:30am we said goodbye to one of the shining lights of our team."

Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas was stunned by the news, saying: "I can’t believe what I’m reading. Such a sad, sad day. Thoughts with everyone who knew and loved Gino.."

Gino Mäder of Switzerland and Team Bahrain
Gino Mäder of Switzerland and Team Bahrain

Sheffield, 21, suffered a concussion and soft tissue damage in the crash, and was kept in hospital overnight for observation, the Ineos Grenadiers said.

Mader, who won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2021 and came second overall at the Tour de Romandie last year, was a hugely popular rider in the peloton and news of his death led to an outpouring of tributes.

Geraint Thomas wrote on Twitter: "I can't believe what I'm reading. Such a sad sad day. Thoughts with everyone who knew and loved Gino."

Former world champion Alejandro Valverde wrote: "There are no words. Terrible news. My support and love to his colleagues in @BHRVictorious as well as family and friends."

Bahrain-Victorious managing director Milan Erzen said the team wanted to race on in Mader's honour.

View of the site where Gino Maeder from Switzerland of Bahrain Victorious and Magnus Sheffield from the USA of Ineos Grenadiers crashed
View of the site where Gino Maeder from Switzerland of Bahrain Victorious and Magnus Sheffield from the USA of Ineos Grenadiers crashed

"We are devastated by the loss of our exceptional cyclist, Gino Mader," he said. "His talent, dedication, and enthusiasm were an inspiration to us all. Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist, but a great person off the bike.

"We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.

"Bahrain Victorious will race in his honour, keeping his memory on every road we race. We are determined to show the spirit and passion Gino displayed, and he will always remain an integral part of our team."

Race organisers said a doctor was at the scene of the crash within two minutes of it happening. It occurred with 14 kilometres of the 211km stage from Fiesch to La Punt remaining.

After the incident there was immediately criticism of a route that ended with a fast technical descent off the mountain to the finish line.

Former professional Adam Hansen, now president of the cyclists' union the CPA, wrote on Twitter on Thursday night that such finishes were a "concern for riders" and said he has been working on a presentation to put to governing body the UCI and race organisers to better ensure rider safety.