Giro d'Italia: Girmay could be forced to abandon after stage 10 win marred by freak eye injury

By Sports Desk May 17, 2022

Biniam Girmay suffered a worrying eye injury after being struck in the face by a cork from a Prosecco bottle during Giro d'Italia celebrations and could be ruled out of the rest of the race.

A moment of joy for Girmay turned sour on Tuesday, when he became the first black African winner of a Grand Tour stage but then had to be taken to hospital in the town of Jesi.

The freak incident occurred on the podium as he leaned down to open a large bottle of the sparkling wine and the cork flew straight against his left eye, causing Girmay to show immediate anguish.

He put on a brave face to spray the bottle, in keeping with tradition, but spent much of his time on the stage with the injured eye closed before being taken away for treatment.

Intermarche-Wanty Gobert team doctor Piet Daneels told Belgian broadcaster Sporza: "After the ceremony, Girmay could no longer see.

"We immediately came to the hospital of Jesi, here he was treated well. He had a bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye. Such bleeding is not threatening to the eye itself, but it is important that this is monitored."

Girmay was able to leave hospital later and be reunited with members of his team.

"At the moment it is better. But to decide whether he starts tomorrow, that will have to take another night," Daneels added on Tuesday evening.

"As it stands now, I don't think there is permanent damage, but we have to wait and see. There will be a new evaluation tomorrow, but we will be careful with this incident."

Girmay fended off Mathieu van der Poel in a sprint finish to win stage 10 in Jesi, at the end of a hilly 196-kilometre ride from Pescara.

The 22-year-old Girmay finished second on the opening stage of the race and secured another four top-five finishes before finally taking the top step of the podium.

Wednesday's 203km stage takes the riders from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia Parmigiano.

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