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Biniam Girmay writes cycling history in Ghent-Wevelgem 2022

Season 2021 ended with euphoria, after a first succesful Tour of Spain and very emblematic victory of Danny van Poppel in Binche-Chimay-Binche. Season 2022 followed the example, continuing the momentum. Together with a solid team, leaders Biniam Girmay and Alexander Kristoff wrote important storylines for the team with respective wins in Ghent-Wevelgem and the Scheldeprijs.

Two days before Ghent-Wevelgem, or half a year after riding on cobbles for the last time, Biniam Girmay participated to his very first cobble classic, the E3 Classic Harelbeke. He made a strong impression and managed to follow the chasing group behind Christophe Laporte and Wout Van Aert and finish fifth.

“The image of Biniam Girmay on the Paddestraat will last in my memory for a very long time. He didn't feel the cobbles, battling alongside Wout Van Aert and Christophe Laporte. He didn't turn his head when he turned left at the top in the first positions. Discovering the most difficult obstacles in Flanders was a source of amusement for him. For us, it was clear that we had an exceptional rider among us. This moment confirmed my conviction, that one day Biniam would become a winner of a classic.”

A couple of minutes after this successful test for Biniam Girmay in the E3 Classic, Aike Visbeek decided in dialogue with Girmay that he would reinforce the team around Alexander Kristoff in Ghent-Wevelgem two days later, rather than concluding his first part of the season in La Roue Tourangelle.

This strategical choice resulted in a predominant collective strength of team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert in the final of Ghent-Wevelgem. Thanks to an attack with 25 kilometer to go, Girmay sprinted for the victory with his breakaway companions Christophe Laporte, Jasper Stuyven and Dries Van Gestel. After launching the sprint first, Girmay crossed the line as the winner and entered History as the first African winner of a major classic, a couple of days before his 22nd birthday.

“Ghent-Wevelgem will always be the race which shakes up our team. Exactly six years after the disappearance of Antoine Demoitié in this race on the 27th of March 2016, our young Biniam Girmay provoked a brutal revolution in the development of our team. All of a sudden things went quite fast with Biniam Girmay, who became the new sensation in cycling. For our team, Ghent-Wevelgem will always stay the race of all emotions.”

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