THE UK Government has denied a visa to one of the world’s top cyclists, meaning they will not be able to take part in the world championships in Scotland, according to reports.

Biniam Girmay, who in 2022 became the first Black African cyclist to win a Grand Tour stage at the Giro D’Italia, is one of four cyclists who have been barred entry to the UK, according to Global Cycling Network.

Girmay was considered a contender in the elite men’s road race, which is due to begin in Edinburgh at 9:30am on Sunday, August 6, and finish in Glasgow late that same day.

He won the 2022 Gent–Wevelgem road race, an event on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) tour which has been held in Belgium annually since 1934.

Along with his fellow Eritreans, Natnael Tesfatsion, Merhawi Kudus, and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Girmay has reportedly been denied a UK visa.

Three others on the Eritrean team, Natnael Berhane, Henok Mulubrahn, and Dawit Yemane, have been given visas which will allow them to compete at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, billed as the biggest cycling event ever.

Campaign group Africa Rising Cycling wrote on Twitter: “To confirm, we have just spoken with one of the riders affected, and the story is true.

“All four (currently) do not have visas to race on Sunday … Let’s hope UK gov sees sense. These are all professional, top level athletes.”

The group added separately: “Shame on the UK for denying these professional top level athletes access to the very top stage of our sport.”

The championships will be held across Scotland, but primarily in Glasgow, from August 5 to August 13.

The Home Office said it had received multiple calls about the case of Girmay and his teammates and would respond in due course.

When they did reply, a spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

“All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in line with the Immigration Rules.”

Hope is not lost and there is a chance the four cyclists may still be awarded visas in time. They were planning to arrive in the UK on Friday, according to Global Cycling Network.

Louise Crichton, senior solicitor in Thorntons’ immigration and visas team, said: “Competitors and support teams hailing from countries outside of Canada, the USA, and the EU – whose nationals are considered to be ‘non-visa nationals’ – can enter the UK on a Standard Visitor visa.

“To obtain a Standard Visitor visa individuals must make an online application, pay the application fee and then attend a biometric appointment. Processing then takes approximately three weeks.

“The only recourse now available to competitors who have failed to secure the correct visa documentation is to reapply using the super priority service, which ensures a decision is provided by close of play the next working day after the appointment.

"Anyone relying on this service will be tight for time before this Sunday’s road race as there is no guarantee appointments will be available.”