There have been strong voices recently, that downhill finishes should be banned to prevent accidents like the one of Gino Mäder's at Tour de Suisse from happening in the future. Former pro Michael Rasmussen however disagrees that such solution makes the least of sense.
"It doesn't matter," says Rasmussen at Ekstra Bladet, where he works as an analyst. "The riders will still ride just as hard to have 20 seconds at the bottom of the hill. It doesn't make any sense. It's just the cursed nature of cycling that there's a huge amount of risk associated with a descent."
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"You cannot enforce such a rule. You wouldn't be able to ride Milano-Sanremo anymore. Or this year's Tour stage to Morzine or the one to Courchevel," said the Dane.
The descent from the Albula Pass, where Mäder crashed, is also not particularly dangerous, according to Rasmussen. "It is a large, wide, open road with relatively good asphalt. There is no reasonable argument why you wouldn't be able to race there. If you did, you would get into trouble in many other places."
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The former rider of Rabobank, among others, did the descent from the Albula Pass to La Punt himself once, during the Tour de Suisse in 2006. "I had riden away and had a big lead, but was overcome by the cold and overtaken by many. My point is that if I had been 20 seconds ahead of the top – or 20 seconds behind – I would have been riding like Juan Ayuso and Gino Mäder and everyone else going 100 km/h. It's just so deep in the riders. That's what you do. It's all about being first."
Rasmussen expects accidents like Mäder's to continue to occur in the future. "And perhaps even more often than before, because bikes are getting faster and faster. It is the willingness of riders to take risks that determines that."