TEAM Wanty’s Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay Hailu celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 196km distance between Pescara and Jesi, on Tuesday.—AFP
TEAM Wanty’s Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay Hailu celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 196km distance between Pescara and Jesi, on Tuesday.—AFP

PESCARA: Biniam Girmay won stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, making history as the first Black African to win a stage on any of the three grand tours.

The 22-year-old Eritrean proved too strong for Dutch ace Mathieu van der Poel, who threw up his hands in defeat after a long struggle for the line at Jesi.

While multiple tour winner Chris Froome was born in Kenya and Daryl Impey of South Africa has won stages, Girmay is the first Black African to do so.

“I watched the Giro as a kid on television and then went out riding with the dream of one day taking part,” Girmay said. “We write a little piece of history every day.”

Proceedings took a nasty turn however when Girmay got a champagne cork in the face when fumbling with a magnum bottle on the winners’ podium, leaving him rubbing and holding his left eye.

He appeared worried as he was led to an ambulance for treatment although there was no visible wound to his eye.

The Intermarche rider signalled his coming of age in March when he became the first African to win a one-day classic at Gent-Wevelgem, when still just 21.

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

Spain’s Juan Pedro Lopez of Trek retained the race lead as the main contenders in the overall standings all finished together. Stage 10 left Pescara with a potential for a mass bunch sprint, but the pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan were dropped when the pace picked up in the hills.

Cavendish and Ewan have a better chance when Wednesday’s stage 11 takes a pancake flat 203km run to Reggio Emilia.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2022

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