JESI, ITALY – MAY 17: Hailu Biniam Girmay of Eritrea and Team Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux celebrates winning during the 105th Giro d’Italia 2022, Stage 10 a 196km stage from Pescara to Jesi 95m / #Giro / #WorldTour / on May 17, 2022 in Jesi, Italy. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Biniam Girmay crossed the line of the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia with his arms raised, his head thrown back, roaring at the sky. To his left and several bike lengths back, a defeated Mathieu van der Poel had no answer other than an impressed thumbs up. It was another historic moment in Girmay’s historic career.
The young Eritrean is one of a promising wave of riders from his cycling-mad East African country, following in the footsteps of countrymen like Daniel Teklehaimanot, Natnaiel Berhane, and Amanuel Gebrezgabhier – but with his growing palmares, Girmay has surpassed them all.
To recap some of those milestones along the way: Girmay’s 2021 silver medal at the U23 Road World Championships – the first for Eritrea, and the first ever by a Black African. Girmay’s win at Gent-Wevelgem – the first ever classics win by a Black African. Girmay’s first Giro stage win – again, the first ever by a Black African.
Those results seem to have come quickly, but they’re born of a long journey. Through the lenses of Kristof Ramon and the Getty Agency, we’ve charted the rise of Bini to the top of world cycling.