via Associated Press
CYCLING – The beautiful story ends sadly. The Eritrean Biniam Girmay abandoned the Giro this Wednesday, May 18 in the morning the day after his historic victory in the 10th stage, we learned from his Intermarché team.
Girmay became the first black rider in Africa to win a grand tour stage on Tuesday. But when celebrating his historic success on the ceremonial podium of Jesi (center-east), the young 22-year-old Eritrean inadvertently received in the eye the cap of the giant bottle of Prosecco that he was to open.
Treated at the Jesi hospital, in an excellent way according to the doctor of his Intermarché training, he joined Tuesday evening the hotel of his Intermarché team in Riccione where a small party was organized in his honor. The Belgian team had chosen to wait until the morning to make a decision on the continuation of the Giro for its African nugget.
“Hi everyone, I’m fine,” he reassured on Instagram this Wednesday morning. “I want to thank everyone for the messages and the support. I’m sad to miss the end of the Giro. I was looking forward to racing with my teammates and fighting with the best cyclists to win and for the ciclamino. But I have to stop to heal and I have to rest for a few days. See you soon,” he wrote.
In the entourage of the team, it is indicated that the choice to abandon the race was taken out of prudence. Further eye examinations are planned in the short term for Girmay, who left the hotel on Wednesday morning with his manager after greeting teammates and staff.
“The examinations revealed lesions in the left eye, which require the greatest precaution and rest”, specified the Belgian team. His doctor Piet Daneels specified that “the examinations revealed a hemorrhage in the anterior chamber of the left eye of Biniam Girmay”.
“The evolution of his injury is going in the right direction,” he added. “In order to minimize the risk of hemorrhagic expansion and intraocular pressure, it is strongly recommended to avoid intensive activities. Our priority is a full recovery from the injury and that is why we have decided, in consultation with the rider and the sports management, that Biniam will not appear at the start of the eleventh stage.
Mathieu van der Poel almost experienced the same misadventure
In a few months, Girmay has become one of the big names in the international peloton. The first African runner to put his name on the list of winners of a classic (Ghent-Wevelgem at the end of March), notably beating Frenchman Christophe Laporte, he established himself among the best sprinters/punchers.
Second in the opening stage of the Giro in Hungary behind Mathieu van der Poel, he dominated the Dutchman in a long sprint at the finish of the 10th stage in Jesi. In the points classification, he thus came within three points of the wearer of the cyclamen jersey for the best sprinter, the Frenchman Arnaud Démare. On the line, van der Poel gave a thumbs up in respect before congratulating his winner.
The Dutchman had also almost been the victim of a capricious traffic jam during the official ceremony which followed his stage success. But he had received it on the shoulder, without the injury taking on the same seriousness as for the Eritrean.
Girmay, who joined the Intermarché team in the spring of 2021 after turning professional the previous year with the French team Delko, had made a name for himself last season by winning the silver medal in the Worlds hopes race in Louvain. (Belgium).
The 11th stage of the Giro, 203 kilometers long and designed for sprinters, leads from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia.
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