Mathieu van der Poel sympathizes with Biniam Girmay after a cork incident in the Giro: “They come off very quickly, they stop”

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Mathieu van der Poel encountered a very strong Biniam Girmay on Tuesday in the tenth stage of the Giro. A day later, the rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert is no longer there after an incident with a cork on the podium.

Vincent Van Genechten

Wednesday 18 May 2022 at 14:10

Girmay got the cork in his eye when uncorking the bottle of prosecco and was in a lot of pain. He couldn’t see out of sight for a while and went to the hospital for a check-up. Later in the evening his sight returned, but on Wednesday morning it was decided not to take any risks and not to start. Girmay indicated in the video that his eye needed “more rest”.

Van der Poel almost had the same advantage after winning the first stage. Then the cork luckily landed on his shoulder and not in his eye.

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“I only saw the images afterwards,” said the Dutchman at Eurosport before the start of the eleventh stage. “On the first day I had it in front of me and managed that it was not in my face. I think they are already doing a lot of stuff at the organization, I don’t know. They do come off very quickly. Dangerous and not the way you want to leave the Giro.”

Van der Poel also said that he will probably not participate in the sprint on Wednesday, unless a smaller group is created due to fans.

“We have a bad feeling about this,” Giro boss Mauro Vegni said before the stage in response to the Girmay incident. “We have gone from happiness to extreme disappointment. We think of him because he had a magical moment for cycling. I hope it doesn’t cause permanent damage. This has never happened. I don’t know if it had to do with the heat. In any case, we will look at how we can avoid this in the future.”

Sports director Valerio Piva already had a suggestion in conversation with Sporza: “Why can’t the bottle just be open on the podium, like in F1?”, it sounded.