Stage 3: Biniam Girmay Becomes First Black Man in History to Win a Tour de France Stage

"Now, we are part of the big races; it's our moment, our time. This win is for all Africans."


Stage winner: Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty)
Race leader: Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost)

The first flat day meant one thing: all eyes on Cav.

Could he break the deadlock? Would he finally win his thirty-fifth Tour de France stage? After two brutal opening stages, was Mark Cavendish going to best the dozen-plus other world-class sprinters in the peloton to make history?

In the end, Cavendish did not make history.

But history was made.

The course, which ran just over 260 kilometres from Plaisance to Torino, featured a trio of category-four climbs, the last of which came nearly fifty kilometres from the day’s sprint finish.

TotalEnergies’ Fabien Grellier attacked after the day’s second climb, quickly building nearly a one-minute solo lead over the peloton on the backside of the Côte de Barbaresco. As it usually is with a solo attack on a flat stage, Grellier’s aggression was for nought, as he was caught with some twenty-six kilometres to go.

After the Barbaresco, the day sloped gently downward toward Torino, allowing teams plenty of time to organise themselves in the bunch.

Once the race arrived in Torino, the road straightened out as the nerves and pace shot up quickly, nearing and exceeding 50 km per hour. The first sprint stage of a Tour is always a testy affair.

Yet, outside of one crash that collected Soudal-QuickStep’s Casper Pedersen and a slideout by Decathlon-AG2R’s Bruno Armirail, the day’s final few kms appeared to tick on without incident. However, a bigger crash with just under two kilometres to collect a few riders from PremierTech and Cofidis.

In an atypical move for a sprint stage, yellow jersey-wearer Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) spent the final stretch of the race toward the front of the group. It was a move that was one-part self-preservation, one-part necessity, given how tight the top standing of the Tour was after its opening two stages.

Meanwhile, pre-stage favourite Jasper Philipsen’s chances took a hit when his uber leadout man Mathieu van der Poel caught a flat with just over five kilometres to go and was unable to claw back to the peloton.

Finally, as the peloton took a final few hard turns into the day’s last straightaway, Intermarché-Wanty’s Biniam Girmay appeared pinned to the barrier. But he elbowed out some space for himself, besting Movistar’s Fernando Gaviria and Lotto-Dstny’s Arnaud de Lie.

In doing so, Girmay, a native of Eritrea, became the first Black man to win a stage at the Tour de France.

Biniam Girmay Wins 2024 Tour de France Stage 3

A lot of people are tuning in to this year’s Tour expecting to see a historic moment.

We just did.

“Ever since I started cycling, I’ve always dreamed of being part of the Tour de France. But now, I can’t believe it. To win the Tour de France in my second year in a big bunch sprint is unbelievable for me,” Girmay said after the finish.

“I just want to thank my family, my wife, all the Eritreans, and Africans; we must be proud. Now, we are part of the big races; it’s our moment, our time. I want to say congrats to my whole team because we haven’t had a victory yet [in the Tour de France]. But now is our moment, and I’m super happy. This win is for all Africans.”

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