Biniam Girmay, International, Global

Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay Cycles His Way To Becoming 1st Black African To Win Tour de France Stage

'To win a stage where all the best sprint specialists are present is unbelievable.'

History was made when Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay became the first Black African cyclist to win a Tour de France stage.

The Associated Press shared the history-making feat that took place on July 2, when Girmay crossed the finish line before competitors Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud De Lie. This comes two years after he became the first Black African to win a Grand Tour at the Giro d’Italia in Italy. It was a short-lived celebration as Girmay had to be taken to a local hospital for an eye injury he suffered when a champagne cork hit his eye during the podium celebration.

Reuters reported that the African rider helped give his Intermarche-Wanty team their first victory on the Tour.

“To be part of the Tour de France is already incredible. I was dreaming of taking part and now I can’t control my emotions,” Girmay said after the victory.

“With my first Tour last year, I acquired experience and I manage everything better. Winning today is unbelievable.

“To be honest, when I went to the Giro I knew I had the level to fight for the win but for the Tour I was thinking I would have to wait 2025, 2026. To win a stage where all the best sprint specialists are present is unbelievable.”

Girmay isn’t the first African to win a tour as two other African riders, Robbie Hunter in 2007 and Daryl Impey in 2019, of South Africa have previously won, but are both white.

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

“There is a whole continent that has been waiting for this,” said Aike Visbeek, the performance director for Girmay’s Intermarche-Wanty team.

“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.”

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