Biniam Girmay made Giro d’Italia history before a bizarre eye injury forced him to abandon the race

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Eritrean Girmay became the first black African to win a stage on one of cycling’s Grand Tours when he edged Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel on the Giro’s 10th stage between Pescara and Jesi.

However, the 22-year-old had to drop out of the race after a cork of prosecco exploded in his left eye on the podium.

According to the doctor of his Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team, Piet Daneels, Girmay suffered a haemorrhage in the anterior chamber of his eye and it was recommended to avoid all physical activity.

“Our priority is a complete recovery from the injury and that is why we have decided with the rider and the sporting director that Biniam will not appear at the start of the 11th stage,” said Daneels.

After undergoing medical examinations on Tuesday, Girmay was able to return to his hotel to celebrate with his teammates.

“The team did almost 99% (from start to finish), Girmay said.

“I’m really happy with the team (and) with what they’ve done; everyone, they’re super motivated before the start, during the race, after the race, we really helped each other, we is supported. It was a good vibe.”

Girmay, who made his Grand Tour debut at this year’s Giro, found himself locked in a sprint finish with van der Poel in the final 200 meters of Tuesday’s stage and held off rider Alpecin-Fenix to seal the victory.

Girmay celebrates winning the 10th stage of the Giro.
Van der Poel, incidentally, was also hit by an exploding cork of prosecco after the first stage of this year’s Giro, but luckily for him he was unharmed after it hit his face.

The Giro started on May 6 and will end on May 29. Spaniard Juan Pedro López is currently leading the overall standings ahead of Portugal’s João Almeida and Frenchman Romain Bardet.

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