August 1, 2023

Climbing the ‘Grand Colombier’ for our planet and Gino Mäder

The guys over at Tour de Tietema have supported our mission in an incredible way! 

During the last Tour de France, this cycling channel on YouTube started a fundraiser to honour Gino Mäder, the wonderfully talented young Swiss cyclist and environmentalist who tragically passed away last June. One of their three hosts, Devin van der Wiel, climbed the Col du Grand Colombier and donated €1 to our projects for every single one of the 425 (!) other riders he passed – just like Gino did. 

In addition to their own donation, they asked their subscribers to contribute. The incredible response they received shows how much Gino meant to the cycling community. More than 600 people donated, leading to a total amount of €9,175 for the regreening of our planet!  

We asked Devin a few questions about the fundraiser and his experiences on the (extremely challenging!) Grand Colombier.

Tour de Tietema Justdiggit

Hi Devin! Thank you so much for all your efforts. Can you share with us why you guys decided to start this fundraiser?

“Sure! So with our YouTube channel Tour de Tietema, we’ve been organising all kinds of different things during the Tour de France in the past, starting in 2019. We make videos with challenges for ourselves or have fun interactions with the riders, like finding out who is the best football player by organising a keepy-uppy championship or handing out pizzas during the last day of the Tour. It’s a nice way to show people what everyday life is like during this event and what’s going on behind the scenes. 

As for this year, the tragic death of Gino just a month before the start of the Tour de France meant we knew we wanted to do something to honour him. He was really beloved by a lot of people and his death made a big impact on us. Not just because of his abilities, but also because he was a person that thought of the bigger picture, and not just himself. He wanted to make the world a better place.”

Amazing! What did the challenge look like?

“The main idea was that I would climb the Grand Colombier and donate €1 for every rider I passed along the way. It was the same mountain where the 13th stage of the Tour would finish, later that day. We started early in the morning, but it was already full of people looking for a good spot to watch the event. So that was definitely a big plus! 

Things started out really smoothly, and I passed a lot of people during the first kilometres. After that, the real challenge began. It was really hot that day, and… well, the Grand Colombier is already a seriously challenging climb for seasoned pros, let alone for someone like me who just cycles for fun. 

The enthusiasm and support of people on and off the road really helped me make it to the finish line, though. People cheered me on and handed me over food, and I even passed a group of people partying already, doing the polonaise of all things, haha! 

So you know, it was extremely tiring but a lot of fun as well, and I was really happy that I managed to pass 425 people to raise money for such a good cause.”

How did you get so many people to donate? 

“At the end of the video we made about this challenge, we gave our subscribers the opportunity to contribute as well. We set up a GoFundMe-page for that. We didn’t know what to expect, but it definitely wasn’t the response we got. I think more than 600 or 650 people donated, and in this way, we’ve been able to raise €9,175 for your organisation. To me, it shows how many people loved Gino and what kind of person he was.

We handed over the cheque with the money we raised to Wout Poels. He was Gino’s former teammate at Team Bahrain Victorious and was already from the beginning really supportive of our mission to raise money for an organisation that Gino supported. We all think that’s what he would have wanted.”

We would like to thank everyone at Tour de Tietema and their amazing followers/subscribers for this overwhelming support for our mission. We will use the donation to regreen a dedicated area for Gino. You can read more about this project here