Home > News

Prosecco cork accident mars Biniam Girmay’s historic victory

Unclear if Eritrean will be able to continue Giro with eye injury

Photo by: Sirotti

On Tuesday’s 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia, Eritrean Biniam Girmay made history by becoming the first Black African to win a Grand Tour stage. But an accident involving the victory prosecco cork has marred his triumph.

On stage for the victory ceremony Girmay was bent over opening the bottle at this feet when the cork flew up and hit him in the left eye. Although he carried on with the traditional spraying of the bubbly tipple, he was clearly pained by the blow. He was taken to the hospital and left the facility with a bandage over the eye. It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to carry on.

Girmay’s victory put him only three points behind double stage winner Arnaud Démare in the points classification, and the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider has been in a fine rivalry with Mathieu van der Poel, who gave him a thumbs up and an embrace after the line. But the Eritrean’s Giro might be in jeopardy.

Oddly enough, van der Poel himself narrowly escaped the same fate with the right eye opening a prosecco bottle at his feet after winning the opening stage in Hungary. The cork hit him in the right shoulder.

Girmay delighted the cycling world in late March by becoming the first Black African to win a Spring Classic at Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields.