Reactions to Biniam Girmay’s Historic Tour de France Stage 3 Victory

"Cycling is massive in Eritrea. It's good for him and good for African cycling. He's a legend, isn't he?" said Mark Cavendish of Girmay's win. 


Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) made history in a big way with a win in a bunch sprint in Turin for Stage 3 of the Tour de France. Girmay becomes the first ever Black man to win a stage, as well as the first ever Eritrean to win, and the first stage win for Intermarché-Wanty. This was the longest stage of this year’s Tour, at 230 km. And with all the talk around the sprinters, not many had Girmay as a contender.

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

Girmay was in tears during his post-race interview, saying, “Ever since I started cycling, I’ve always been dreaming 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, for me it is unbelievable.”

“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; now it’s our moment, our time. I want to say congrats to my whole team because we didn’t have a victory yet [in the Tour de France]. But now is our moment, and I’m super happy. This win is for all Africans.”

Earlier in the day, all eyes were on Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), as Stage 3 was considered the first he could potentially win, giving him the record for most Tour stage wins ever. But Cav was involved in a crash 2.5 km from the line.

“This is the biggest thing to happen in Eritrean sport.”

“Cycling is massive in Eritrea. It’s good for him and good for African cycling. He’s a legend, isn’t he?” said Cavendish after the stage.

In his TV commentary, former professional cyclist Bob Roll paid his respects, “Hats off to the Eritrean fast man. Fantastic win. That will go down in the history books: first stage win for a rider from Eritrea. I love it.”

Fans from Eritrea were at the finish line to celebrate their country’s history win. Cycling journalist Daniel Fiebre talked with one of them. “This is the biggest thing to happen in Eritrean sport,” said the man.

Girmay is the definition of quiet persistence. He’s had loads of success, but also a fair amount of bad luck. At the 2022 Giro d’Italia, Girmay became the first black African cyclist to win a Grand Tour stage after winning Stage 10 in a bunch sprint. But Girmay’s Giro victory was tarnished 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. The injury was enough to force him to abandon the race.

In this year’s Giro, Girmay completed three stages, but crashed twice on the rainy fourth day and abandoned the race with a hip injury. He left clearly frustrated.

But today, everything clicked. And while the Stage 3 victory might have been a surprise to some, out pedaling some of the best sprinters in the world, it’s totally possible that Girmay could take another stage win in the coming weeks.

Intermarché-Wanty even joked that this year, no champagne would stop them.

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