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Richard Carapaz, Biniam Girmay Make History With Tour de France Victories

Inspiring Tour de France news on Monday: Girmay becomes the first Black African to win a stage, and Carapaz earns Ecuador its first yellow jersey.
tour de france carapaz girmayRichard Carapaz, left, and Biniam Girmay scored big victories in the Tour de France on Monday; (photos/Flickr, Shutterstock)
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No matter who wins the Tour de France this month, Biniam Girmay and Richard Carapaz will return home as heroes.

After a brutally hot and chaotic start to the world’s biggest bike race this weekend, Monday brought the kind of historic victories that galvanize spectators all around the world to watch this month-long competition.

Girmay, from Eritrea, became the first Black African to win a stage, and Carapaz became the first Ecuadorian to wear the race leader’s yellow jersey.

Girmay won Stage 3 in Turin after a crash in the peloton — less than 2 miles from the finish — thwarted cycling star Mark Cavendish from earning his 35th stage victory. But Cavendish’s loss resulted in a significant moment for Girmay, who immediately reflected on his victory’s significance for a continent that had never seen a Black African win a stage.

“Ever since I started cycling, I’ve always been dreaming of the Tour,” Girmay told The Guardian. “But to win in my second Tour, in a big bunch sprint, is unbelievable. It means a lot, personally for me, and for the continent.”

A Rough Start

The Tour de France kicked off in Florence, Italy, with soaring temperatures and unruly fans this weekend. One cyclist, Jan Hirt, even broke three teeth after a fan knocked him off his bike.

Temperatures in the upper 90s seemed to cause problems for many riders. That includes Cavendish, who hopes to break a tie with Eddy Merckx for the most career stage wins. But he struggled with stomach and heat issues this weekend, even vomiting while on his bike, according to The Associated Press.

Spectators in Ecuador, however, are likely more interested in the Monday victory of Carapaz, another talented cyclist who has finished on the podium in all three of Europe’s Grand Tours. He also won the Giro d’Italia in 2019.

After crashing out of the Tour de France on the very first day last year, Carapaz has now won himself the yellow jersey. Worn every day by the individual leader, the jersey is the race’s most potent symbol.

“It means the world to me, and the same for Ecuador, because there’s so few of us,” he said.

Or, as he put it more simply on Instagram (translated from Spanish): “Dreams can come true.”

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