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(AP) Eritrea's Biniam Girmay becomes the first Black African rider to win a Tour de France stage

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 01 July 2024

Eritrea's Biniam Girmay becomes the first Black African rider to win a Tour de France stageEritrean rider Biniam Girmay said his win in the third stage of the Tour de France was “for all Africans.”Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay said his win in the third stage of the Tour de France was “for all Africans.”THOMAS SAMSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Posted Monday, July 1, 2024 9:11 am

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay became the first Black African rider to win a Tour de France stage Monday when he sprinted to victory in the mostly flat third leg.

Girmay said his win was “for all Africans.”

“We must be proud now. We are really part of the big races,” Girmay said. “Now it’s our moment. It’s our time.”

Added Aike Visbeek, the performance director for Girmay’s Intermarche-Wanty team: “There is a whole continent that has been waiting for this. It’s been done now, and I hope it will open the floodgates for more riders from Africa. He’s an ambassador in every way.”

Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish’s pursuit of a record-breaking 35th stage win was postponed by a crash ahead of him in the finale, and Olympic champion Richard Carapaz took the yellow jersey from Tadej Pogacar — making him the first Ecuadorean to lead cycling's biggest race.

Girmay also made history in Italy two years ago when he won a stage at the Giro d’Italia to become the first Black African to take a victory in a Grand Tour, the term that encompasses the three major three-week races: the Giro, the Tour and the Spanish Vuelta.

But Girmay’s Giro victory was marred when he was rushed to a hospital after getting hit in the left eye by a prosecco cork he popped open during the podium celebration — forcing him to abandon the race.

Also in 2022, Girmay became the first rider from a sub-Saharan country to win a single-day classic at the Gent-Wevelgem race.

The 39-year-old Cavendish has been tied with Eddy Merckx on 34 wins for three years and put off retirement to try again this year to break the record.

The 231-kilometer (144-mile) leg from Piacenza to Turin — the longest stage of this year’s Tour — provided the first chance for a mass sprint. There will be at least a handful of other opportunities for sprinters as the race prepares to cross back into France following the first four stages in Italy.

Girmay finished just ahead of Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud De Lie.

Cavendish crossed 113th but was given the same finishing time as Girmay as per rules that neutralize the times in case of crashes in the final five kilometers.

Pogacar dropped to second overall, with the same time as Carapaz.

Remco Evenepoel — the 2022 world champion and Spanish Vuelta winner — is third overall; and two-time defending champion Jonas Vingegaard is fourth, both also with the same time as Carapaz.

The race crosses back into France on Tuesday during Stage 4, which is also the first big mountain leg going up to Sestriere and over the Col du Galibier — one of the Tour’s classic climbs — in the 140-kilometer (87-mile) route from Pinerolo to Valloire.

Pogacar, who won the Tour in 2020 and 2021, and Vingegaard will be favored to take the yellow jersey from Carapaz, who won the Giro in 2019 before taking gold in Tokyo three years ago.

"Tomorrow will be a big day,” Carapaz said. “It will be complicated. I’m going to try and give everything. I’m going to try and enjoy every single moment in the yellow jersey.”
Stage winner Eritrea's Biniam Girmay celebrates on the podium after the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 230.8 kilometers (143.4 miles) with start in Piacenza and finish in Turin, Italy, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
Stage winner Eritrea's Biniam Girmay celebrates on the podium after the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 230.8 kilometers (143.4 miles) with start in Piacenza and finish in Turin, Italy, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

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AP cycling 

Girmay becomes first Black African to win a Tour de France ...



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