Giro d’Italia 2022 : Stage 10 – Girmay wins on an historic and emotional day in Italy

Today, Biniam Girmay became the first Black African rider to win a stage at a Grand Tour. Considering Grand Tours have been around for almost 120 years, that’s a hell of a glass ceiling to smash through. Everything else about stage 10 of this year’s Giro d’Italia will be but a footnote to this historic achievement.

For the record, after Girmay (Intermarche Wanty) came Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin) and Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO). The GC leaderboard didn’t take too many knocks.

How did it happen?

Well, it started out as a normal day. The riders all refreshed after a rest day. With the GC appearing to be on the back burner, it looked like the biggest story of the day might be what Mark Cavendish of Quick-Step has had named after him… peak cycling.

How wrong we were. For sure, the pan-flat first 100 kilometres of the stage could only serve us up unlimited “natural breaks” and plenty of lingering shots of the seaside.

The lull in hostilities gave Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) a chance to show his humour.

Lumpy and Bumpy

Things heated up in the final 90 kilometres as the flatness gave way to a rockin’ and rollin’ parcours which encouraged attacks, caused a crash for Richard Carapaz (Ineos) and saw Caleb Ewan (Lotto but for how long?) dropped.

With 50 kilometres to go, it still felt pretty standard. The peloton was reeling in the break of the day and Wanty and Alpecin kept a tight rein on proceedings to ensure that their men Girmay and van der Poel would be in contention for the win.

And then with 20 kms to go – WE HAD A RACE ON OUR HANDS!

Far from being a formulaic finish, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE wanted to be at the front. The sprinters who’d coped with the rolling roads (ie not Ewan) wanted to be there to contest the finale. Every team that thought they had a puncheur who could take a flyer wanted to be up front too. Heck, even the GC guys wanted to be at the front to keep their fiercely won seconds safe! The smell of danger was in the Italian air.

Far from taking a “safety first” approach to the run in, the peloton turned up the chaos to eleven.

This outbreak of bike racing meant Alpecin, and to a lesser extent Wanty had to fight to keep a lid on it. As soon as they’d extinguished one fire, another would pop up as the chaos kept a-coming. At one point, the eventual winner went right when everyone else went left.

As the race headed towards the finish in Jesi, the peloton was down to around 30 strong. Mostly composed of GC guys who’d probably expected an easy day. Instead, we saw attacks from Richard Carapaz, Hugh Carthy (EF) and Simon PHILIP Yates (Bike Exchange Stage Hunters).

And if that’s all that happened today we’d be sitting back tonight and saying “good day of racing, that”. History, however, had other ideas.

The final KM

It was all together with 500 metres to go. Girmay was where he’s spent a lot of time this Giro, on the wheel of Mathieu van der Poel. He didn’t stay there this time, coming around the Dutchman with an ease few could manage. With 350 metres to go, the Eritrean was ahead.

However, MvdP doesn’t give out gifts and he kept delivering his power, violently clawing his way onto Girmay’s back wheel, stomping harder to close the gap and drawing nearer and nearer to level with Bini. You could not tell how this one was going to end.

And then, it happens. Van der Poel realises he’s not going to catch Girmay before the line. The Wanty rider has too much speed and power for him to overcome. The Dutchman eases off and our eyes shift to Girmay in that bright white Wanty kit. Girmay looks to his left and sees no one where he expected to see his biggest rival. He has his first inkling that he’s going to cross the line first, he gives a slight glance backwards to check and sees Mathieu van der Poel give him the thumbs up, confirmation the win is his. Girmay sits up, he raises his arms aloft and crosses the line in a perfect image of unbridled happiness.

Here’s the man himself

But it wasn’t over for Girmay. In a freak accident, he was hit in the eye by the Prosecco cork when he was on the podium. He was rushed to hospital and his start of tomorrow’s stage is in real doubt. We hope there’s no lasting damage and he’s back in the peloton soon.


Grace in defeat

The headlines and the story of the day will always belong to Girmay but I’d also like to give a lot of respect to Mathieu van der Poel. He’s often depicted as robo-rider who just grinds out the power and only cares about winning. Today, with his thumbs-up gesture before Bini crossed the line and his warm hugs after they cross it, he showed he’s got a heart and I loved to see that. It’s a fantastic rivalry which we hope continues for many years!

Remembering Michele

If you still have time for some feels, the race went through the late Michele Scarponi’s hometown of Filottrano today and did him proud.

All the results

Stage results 

1 BINIAM GIRMAY (Intermarche Wanty and the often forgotten Gobert) 04:32:07

2 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin BadColourChoices) same time

3 Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO Mr Blue Sky) s/t

4 Wilco Kelderman (Bora MuchBetterNowSagzIsGone) s/t

5 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Probably Scouring Eritrea for Riders As We Speak) s/t

GC Top 10 

1 Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 42:34:08

2 Joao Almedia (UAE Team Emirates) +0:12

3 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +0:14

4 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:15

5 Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe) +0:20

6 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:28

7 Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +0:29

8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:54

9 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe) +1:09

10 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) +1:22

All the jerseys


Leader’s jersey : Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo)

Points jersey : Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

King of the Mountains: Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa)

Best young rider: Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo)

Team : Bora-hansgrohe 

For full race results, go to CyclingNews

Official Giro d’Italia website is here

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