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Gino Mäder Turned Vuelta Success Into Charity

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

The young Swiss rider Gino Mäder had a great Vuelta a España, winning the white jersey as best young rider and finishing a stunning fifth in the general classification. And the 24-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider let the success go to his head – in a good way.

Mäder pledged to donate to charity €10 for every rider he beat in the general classification as well as €1 for every rider he beat on each stage. That turned out to be a total of €4,529. But the Swiss cyclist did not have a charity in mind when he made the pledge, and left it up to his fans on Twitter to decide to which environmental organization they would like him to give the money.

“The Vuelta is done and dusted,” he said after the final stage of the Vuelta. “It was a great experience and a race I’ll remember for a long, long time! After going through all the comments, I found that Just Diggit was the most liked comment!”

JustDiggit is a Dutch NGO whose self-proclaimed mission is the following: “Global warming is moving in fast. Our Earth is drying up. Our job is to reverse it, and there’s one decade to do it. We know it is necessary to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C, to stop irreversible damage to the planet that sustains us. We need to act together and we need to act fast. ”

The organization’s solution to that challenge is to cool down the planet by regreening Africa. In this work, JustDiggit works closely with local communities and partners to restore dry land.

“Proven regreening techniques include rainwater harvesting (digging bunds), tree restoration and developing grass seed banks,” the group explains. Bunds are semicircular pits that capture rainwater and ensure rainwater harvesting in dry areas, allowing vegetation to return. More than 145,000 bunds have so far been dug by JustDiggit projects.

In addition, 60,000 ha of land are being restored and some 6.3 million trees have been regenerated in the past 30 months.

All its projects, JustDiggit says, are owned and implemented by communities that live off the land on which the projects are carried out.

So, from the folks here at WLC, a big thank you to the cycling fans who helped the Swiss rider choose a truly worthy recipient of the money. And a huge thanks to Gino Mäder for his original and generous gesture and for his contribution to the fight against global warming. We wish him more success in the future, and more generous gestures for the betterment of the planet.