A bang, a sharp pain, the end! Just over a week ago, the Eritrean Biniam Girmay opened the Prosecco bottle at the award ceremony at the Giro so awkwardly that the cork flew into his left eye with full force. The diagnosis in the hospital: bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye. Birmay has to give up the race. “I feel better, but I can’t ride a bike yet,” says the first black African Giro stage winner at the Tour of Italy today.
The consequences of the mishap continue to cost the father dearly. “The Tour de France is not an option. Maybe next year,” says Aike Visbeek, sporting director of his Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team. Girmay hopes to get back on the bike in the next few days. “Fortunately, I have no after-effects, I’m glad.”
A folk hero in Africa
Girmay is considered a folk hero in his homeland. In spring he won Gent-Wevelgem, a classic. He triggered a euphoria in Eritrea. “I want to be an example for all Africans,” he said at the time.
His next big goal is the World Cycling Championships in Wollongong (Aus) in September. The undulating course of the road race seems tailor-made for Girmay, as he is not only a good puncher but also an excellent sprinter.
As the first African: Eritrean Girmay wins the classic Gent-Wevelgem(01:19)