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Eritrean Girmay makes history with Giro d’Italia victory

PESCARA, Italy, May 18Biniam 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 raised his hands in defeat after a long struggle for the line at Jesi.

While multi-tour winner Chris Froome was born in Kenya and South Africa’s Daryl Impey won stages, Girmay is the first black African to do so.

“I watched the Giro as a kid on TV and then went to ride with the dream of taking part in it one day,” Girmay said.

“We write a little piece of history every day,” he said.

Proceedings took a wrong turn, however, when Girmay was hit in the face by a champagne cork while fumbling with a magnum bottle on the winners’ podium, leaving him to rub and hold his left eye.

He appeared worried when he was taken to an ambulance for treatment, although there was no visible injury to his eye.

The Intermarche rider came of age in March when he became the first African to win a one-day classic at Ghent-Wevelgem, aged just 21.

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

Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez of Trek held on to the lead as the main overall contenders all finished together.

Stage 10 left Pescara with potential for a bunch sprint, but pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan were left behind as the pace picked up in the hills.

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