Biniam Girmay: Champagne cork eye injury forces first Black African stage winner to abandon Giro d’Italia

·1 min read
Biniam Girmay reacts after being hit in the eye by a cork (AP)
Biniam Girmay reacts after being hit in the eye by a cork (AP)

Biniam Girmay, who on Tuesday became the first Black African to win a stage of one of cycling’s Grand Tours at the Giro d’Italia, has had to withdraw from the race after suffering an eye injury from a champagne cork during podium celebrations.

Girmay produced a stirring finish to stage 10 in Jesi, eastern Italy, holding off Mathieu van der Poel in a sprint to the line, and the Eritrean’s glory was a historic moment for both African sport and road cycling.

But Girmay’s joy was cut short as he struggled to open the winner’s champagne bottle on the podium. Leaning over the top of the grounded bottle, he was hit in the face by the erupting cork when it finally came loose, and continued the celebrations with his left eye closed.

Afterwards Girmay was seen by medics and sent to a local hospital for further checks. “After the ceremony, Girmay could no longer see,” his team doctor, Piet Daneels, told Sporza. “We immediately came to the hospital of Jesi, here he was treated well. He had a bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye. Such bleeding is not threatening to the eye itself, but it is important that this is monitored.”

However, on Wednesday morning his Belgian team Intermarché Wanty-Gobert confirmed Girmay would take no further part in the race.

more to follow...

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting