(Reuters) -Biniam Girmay’s Giro d’Italia has been cut short after an eye injury suffered during the celebrations of a stage win forced the Eritrean rider to pull out of the competition, his team Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert said on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old became the first Black African rider to win a Grand Tour stage on Tuesday, beating Mathieu van der Poel with an impressive sprint to claim stage 10.
Whilst on the podium during the celebrations of his landmark win, Girmay placed a bottle of prosecco on the floor as he attempted to open it, and was hit by its cork in his left eye.
He was quickly taken to a hospital in the Italian town of Jesi for a medical examination following the incident.
“Medical examinations revealed a haemorrhage in the anterior chamber of the left eye of Biniam Girmay,” team doctor Piet Daneels said in a statement.
“His injury is evolving in the right direction and will be followed up by a medical team in the next days. In order to minimize the risk of expansion of the haemorrhage and the intraocular pressure, it is strongly recommended to avoid physical activity.”
It was an unfortunate end to what was a landmark Giro for Girmay who earlier this year became the first rider from Eritrea to win a cycling World Tour (elite) race at the Ghent-Wevelgem classic.
“I was a bit sad about what happened with the champagne,” Girnay said in a video message. “When I came back to the hotel, my team was super happy but also a bit afraid. When (they saw) I looked okay, we really enjoyed, and I’m happy.”
Girmay leaves the Giro d’Italia second in the sprint standings, three points behind France’s Arnaud Demare.
Wednesday’s 11th stage is a flat route spanning 203 km from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Martyn Herman)