Italy’s Alberto Dainese was a surprise winner of stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia after Biniam Girmay was forced to abandon this year’s race.
Dainese, 24, then came from nowhere to claim his first Grand Tour stage win.
He made a surge with less than 50m to the line to edge out Fernando Gaviria.
Mark Cavendish was alongside Dainese when the DSM rider launched his attack, finding space on the left to come from well back in the pack.
Dainese expected to ride in support of Cees Bol but they swapped roles late in the stage as the Dutchman was feeling unwell, giving his team-mate the chance to power past Gaviria, Simone Consonni and Arnaud Demare for his first stage win in two years.
Spain’s Juan Pedro Lopez retained his 12-second lead, with 2019 winner Richard Carapaz using the bonus sprint to pick up three seconds to move up to second place overall, bumping Joao Almeida to third.
The flat 203km route from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia would have presented Girmay with the opportunity to secure another memorable victory.
Despite later returning to enjoy the victory with his team-mates, he was unfit to make the start on Wednesday.
The Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert rider said he was “OK now” but needed to recover.
“I was a bit sad with what happened with the champagne and my team-mates were a bit afraid,” admitted Girmay.
“But today I did not start the race because my eye needs more rest.
“Yesterday when I arrived after the hospital I enjoyed the win with my team-mates.
“I am OK now. Thank you to everyone for supporting me.”
Team doctor Piet Daneels said medical examinations had revealed a hemorrhage in Girmay’s left eye and the decision to withdraw him had been taken in order to “minimize the risk” of its expansion.
The 22-year-old, making his Grand Tour debut in Italy, beat Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel in an exciting sprint for the line in Jesi.
Girmay described his win as “unbelievable” immediately after the stage, but he was unable to attend a post-race news conference after being taken to hospital.
“First I say thanks to all my team, the staff and everybody,” added Girmay. “The team did almost 99% from the beginning of the stage to the finish.
“I’m really happy with what the team did. Everybody was super motivating before the race. This victory was for all the team.”
Girmay, who was denied victory by Van der Poel on the Giro’s opening stage, became the first black African to win a World Tour race at Belgium’s Gent-Wevelgem classic in March.
Stage 11 results
- Alberto Dainese (Ita/DSM) 4hrs 19mins 4secs
- Fernando Gaviria (Col/UAE Team Emirates) same time
- Simone Consonni (Ita/Cofidis) same time
- Arnaud Demare (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) same time
- Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) same time
- Mark Cavendish (GB/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) same time
- Edward Theuns (Bel/Trek-Segafredo) same time
- Sacha Modolo (Ita/Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) same time
- Phil Bauhaus (Ger/Bahrain Victorious) same time
- Lawrence Naesen (Bel/AG2R-Citroen) same time
- Juan Pedro Lopez (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) 46hrs 43mins 12secs
- Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos) +12secs
- Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) same time
- Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM) +14secs
- Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +20secs
- Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +28secs
- Mikel Landa (Spa/Team Bahrain) +29secs
- Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) +54secs
- Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 9secs
- Pello Bilbao (Spa/Team Bahrain) +1min 22secs
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