History-making Giray taken to hospital as champagne cork march Giro wins

Updated on 19.02

BINIAM GIRMAY won stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday to make history as the first black African to win on one of the three grand tours, but his celebrations were interrupted by a champagne cork.

Girmay was hit by the cork in the face as he fumbled with a magnum bottle on the winners’ podium, leaving him to rub and hold his left eye as he tried to continue his celebration.

A champagne cork can fly up to 80km/h when it leaves a bottle and Girmay appeared deeply agitated as he was wheeled into an ambulance and taken to hospital.

The cyclist had put the bottle on the ground and leaned over it, undoing the binding before the cork flew off, hitting him closely.

The 22-year-old Eritrean had proved too strong for Dutch ace Mathieu van der Poel, who quit after a long line struggle at Jesi.

Van der Poel hugged Girmay at the line after giving him a sporting thumbs up as he watched his rival race to victory.

Intermarché sporting director Valerio Piva said the victory was a historic moment for cycling.

“It’s a great moment, another continent coming onto the scene that will be important in the future,” he said.

While multi-tour winner Chris Froome was born in Kenya and South Africa’s Daryl Impey won stages, Girmay is the first black African to do so.

“I watched the Giro as a kid on TV and then I came out with the dream of taking part in it one day,” Girmay said, before his crash on the podium.

“We write a little piece of history every day,” he added.

“I’m really happy with what I did today, I don’t have the words to describe it. Thanks to my team who controlled the race from the start.

The Intermarche rider came of age in March when he became the first African to win a one-day classic at Ghent-Wevelgem, aged just 21.

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He first caught the eye at the world championships when he became the first black African man to make the podium when he finished second in the Under-21s at the 2021 event in Belgium.

He has already racked up eight wins since turning pro in 2020.

Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez of Trek held on to the lead as the main overall contenders all finished together.

Stage 10 left Pescara with potential for a bunch sprint, but pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan were left behind as the pace picked up in the hills.

Cavendish and Ewan have a better chance when Wednesday’s Stage 11 takes a 203km pancake run to Reggio Emilia.
– ©AFP 2022

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