It has been an incredible first few days at the 2022 Giro d’Italia and all eyes are on Biniam Girmay, the 22 year old Eritrean, riding for the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team.
On Friday’s first stage, from Budapest to Visegrád (Hungary), he pushed the world-renowned Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) all the way to the line, on an uphill finish to the line, just getting beaten into second place! Van der Poel was seen seconds later lying on the side of the road hyper-ventilating from his maximum effort to beat Biniam.
This was the closest ever moment, for a black African rider to win a Grand Tour stage. It was a case of centimetres. The wait continues but will we see this record set at this race…
Biniam arrived at the Giro with plenty of attention after his excellent results in January-March. His full results can be found HERE on the ProCyclingStats website.
In a Team Africa Rising exclusive, we caught up with the race’s official commentator (global voice of many of the world’s top races) Anthony McCrossan to get his thoughts on Biniam’s efforts on stage one:
After the race, Biniam had this to say: “I tried to do my best, I’ve never done a sprint like it. For 250-300 metres I am at the limit. I fully accept he was stronger than me today but I’m really happy.”
When also asked what a victory would mean for both him and Eritrea over these next three weeks, he said: “I think it’s all of our dreams to win in a Grand Tour. This is one of the biggest races for us. We’ve never won in a Grand Tour, a black rider; for us it will be the greatest moment ever.”
The Eritrean cycling fans were also out in large numbers, and are becoming a famous part of the World Tour’s fanbase. When asked about the over-whelming numbers and support, he said: “It’s not my first time, to have fans around me. There were a lot of people at the Worlds. Even before, the Eritrean fans are a bit crazy about cycling, and they support the pro cyclists. But for me, I didn’t expect a crowd like this, it made me super happy.”