Biniam Girmay withdraws from Giro d'Italia following podium eye injury

A cork struck the Eritrean in his left eye while he celebrated his historic stage ten victory on Tuesday

Biniam Girmay
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Biniam Girmay has withdrawn from the Giro d'Italia and therefore won't start stage 11 of the Grand Tour today, after sustaining an eye injury during the stage ten podium celebrations yesterday. 

Celebrating his historic Giro d'Italia victory on Tuesday, the cork from the winner's bottle of Prosecco struck the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux rider in the eye. Race and team doctors checked over Girmay, the first black African to win a Grand Tour stage, before taking him to hospital for further examinations.

Intermarché confirmed that medical examinations at the hospital in Jesi revealed the Eritrean had suffered injuries to his left eye, meaning he can no longer continue in the Italian race. 

"Following an incident on the podium, medical examinations revealed a haemorrhage in the anterior chamber of the left eye of Biniam Girmay," Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert's team doctor, Piet Daneels, said.

"His injury is evolving in the right direction and will be followed up by a medical team in the next days. In order to minimise the risk of expansion of the haemorrhage 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."

The official announcement of Girmay's withdrawal also included a video message from the 22-year-old. While this isn't the way he would have wanted his Grand Tour debut to end, he still seemed in high spirits after achieving such a historic feat on stage ten. 

Fortunately, he still managed to celebrate his win as well, despite having to accept he wouldn't continue racing in Italy.  

“Yesterday was incredible," Girmay said. "I am very happy with what the team has done. This win is not just for me, but for the whole team. We are just at the beginning and I am sure we will continue to win in the future. Thanks to everyone.

“When I came back from the hospital yesterday, I was able to celebrate a bit with my team. I'm happy again now. I was a little sad about what happened to the champagne, but when I got back to the hotel everyone was happy, even if they were a little concerned.

"Unfortunately I won't start today, because my eye still needs a rest. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. Thanks everyone for all the support. Things are going well now. I'll see you soon."

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.