Biniam Girmay will no longer leave on Wednesday for the eleventh stage of the Giro d’Italia. The 22-year-old rider is not sufficiently fit, because he shot the cork of a bottle of prosecco in his own eye after his historic stage victory on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately I can’t start today because my eye still needs some rest. I’m okay now and looking forward to the rest of the season. I want to thank everyone for the support and see you soon,” said Girmay in a video message from his team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.
The young rider made history in Jesi on Tuesday by becoming the first black African to win a stage in a Grand Tour. Things went wrong on the podium after the stage: Girmay tried to uncork the prosecco bottle, but it didn’t go well. The cork shot into his left eye with speed.
Girmay went to the hospital immediately after the podium ceremony, where he was diagnosed with a hemorrhage in his anterior chamber. After a night’s sleep, the team management of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux decided on Wednesday morning, in consultation with the medical staff and the rider himself, not to let Girmay start in the eleventh stage.
“To reduce the risk of expanding bleeding and intraocular pressure, it is strongly recommended to avoid intensive efforts,” says team doctor Piet Daneels.
For the app users: click on the tweet above for the full video message from Biniam Girmay.
Girmay is experiencing a very successful season
Girmay is the revelation of the cycling season. The number two in the road race of last year’s U23 World Championships won his first WorldTour race at the end of March by winning the Flemish classic Gent-Wevelgem.
In the Giro, the debutant finished five times in the top five of the stage result in a big round in the first nine stages, after which he recorded his first victory on Tuesday in the tenth stage. After a hilly stage in the sprint of a small group, Girmay settled with Mathieu van der Poel.
“My win yesterday was unbelievable,” said Girmay. “When I came back from the hospital I was able to enjoy it a bit with my teammates at the hotel. I was also a bit sad about what happened with the bottle of prosecco, but we are only at the beginning of our journey. We will definitely participate more often in the future for victories.”
Sports director Valerio Piva of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux calls it “very regrettable” that Girmay has to leave the Giro. “But the advice of the medical team was clear and Biniam’s health comes first. The news of the incident hit me like a cold shower yesterday, but in the meantime Biniam is back among us and we have been able to celebrate the victory together.”
Girmay was in second place in the points classification after Tuesday’s stage, just behind Frenchman Arnaud Démare. The eleventh stage of the Giro, a flat stage, starts on Wednesday at 12.20 pm.
For the app users: tap the tweet above for images of Biniam Girmay’s unfortunate moment.