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Giro organizers change podium protocol to avoid another cork incident

Biniam Girmay was forced to withdraw from race

The Giro d’Italia is making some changes in light of the prosecco incident following Tuesday’s 10th. After Eritrean Biniam Girmay made history by becoming the first Black African to win a Grand Tour stage, there was an accident involving when the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert opened the traditional prosecco bottle given to winners on the stage.

Girmay was bent over opening the bottle at his feet when the cork flew up and hit him in his left eye. Girmay carried on with the traditional spraying of the bubbly, despite clearly being in pain. He was taken to the hospital and left the facility with a bandage over the eye.

At the hospital, it was found that the sprinter had a hemorrhage in the anterior chamber. In a team statement, the squad doctor Piet Daneels broke the news.“In order to minimize the risk of expansion of the hemorrhage and the intraocular pressure, it is strongly recommended to avoid physical activity. Our priority is a complete healing of the injury and that’s why we decided together with the rider and the sports direction that Biniam will not appear at the start of the eleventh stage.”

This was not the first time that an errant cork screwed a rider. On the first stage Mathieu van der Poel himself barely avoided a similar injury when he was opening a prosecco bottle at his feet after winning the opening stage in Hungary. The cork hit him in the right shoulder.

Many speculated it was due to the large size of the bottle. It appears to be in the Rehoboam range, which is 4.5 litres. (Fun fact, did you know that oversize bottles are names in the bible? Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Methuselah, Salmanazar, etc.)

Because of the weight, the cyclists aren’t opening it in their hands, and instead leaning over, which seems to be the cause. As a result of that, organizers are now placing the bottles uncorked so the riders can still enjoy the traditional spraying of the booze.