Mos me braktis Episodi i 276

Mos me braktis Episodi i 276

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Under a stifling hot Swiss sun, Biniam Girmay rests his forearms on his handlebars, his muscular right leg out at an angle to stabilise himself as he gives pre-race interviews.

He’s no different to any other rider cruising slowly through the gauntlet of microphones on bikes worth around £15,000 – like thoroughbreds on parade.

But, Eritrean Girmay is one of only six black African riders in the top-level World Tour peloton of  overwhelmingly white riders.

Girmay’s real distinction though is as one of the finest talents in the sport. Last year he made history as the first black African to win a one-day cobbled classic – in Gent-Wevelgem – and a stage of cycling’s second biggest Grand Tour race – the Giro d’Italia.

And he’s exciting to watch. Girmay is a Mark Cavendish-style sprinter, who wins on flatter or mildly hilly stages.

Biniam Girmay – Africa’s new cycling hero
The 23-year-old Intermarche Circus Wanty rider is in picturesque Tafers, a wealthy Swiss village surrounded by lush Alpine meadows. It is the start line for the third stage of the Tour de Suisse: a crucial warm-up race for the Tour de France, where the whole world may see Girmay break more new ground as the first black African to win a stage of cycling’s greatest race.

I can’t imagine…” he says through mirrored shades and a big smile. “I don’t know how big it is for us to win a stage of the Tour de France as an African rider – it would be amazing.”

Part of the reason Girmay speaks of ‘us’ could be seen the previous day. He took his first Tour de Suisse stage win, triumphing in a high-speed bunch sprint.


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