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E3 Classic

An exceptional performance of Biniam Girmay (5th)

The E3 Classic Harelbeke (1.UWT) showed another exceptional performance of Biniam Girmay, the young Eritrean rider of the Belgian World Team. The rider from Asmara discovered the Flemish Ardennes this Friday and returned home with a fifth place after 204 kilometer with seventeen hills and eleven cobble sections around Harelbeke.

When a first selection was made on the Taaienberg with 75 kilometer to go, the 21 year old rider was together with Andrea Pasqualon present in the front of the peloton. Before, he benefited of the protection of his teammates in a stressful approach towards this key moment. 

After the Taaienberg, Girmay and Pasqualon were part of a first chasing group 40 seconds behind the race lead. Thanks to an incredible effort on the next climb, the Eikenberg, Girmay managed to jump to the first group and continue the race in a leading group of sixteen riders.

The rider from Eritrea then brilliantly reacted to the multiple accelerations, among whom those from Jumbo-Visma who outnumbered their competitors, until a duo forced a decision on the Paterberg. Girmay was third on top of this difficulty and then chased together with seven other riders.

The race situation didn’t change anymore in the final race hour and the rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux sprinted for third place in Harelbeke. By taking fifth place, he obtained the best result in a Flemish World Tour classic in the team’s history, one week before his 22nd birthday.

« People were screaming my name everywhere, I felt like at home! It was a fantastic race, but incredibly difficult. Races with short and steep hills suit me really well, but I didn't ride on cobbles since the world championships in Leuven last September. I never rode on the Paterberg or the Kwaremont before. Positioning was crucial and without any knowledge of the course it wasn't easy for me. I came here to gain experience and thanks to my teammates I was able to follow the moves on the key moments and achieve a top five. I will be at the start of Ghent-Wevelgem this Sunday, before returning to Eritrea to prepare the Tour of Italy, my first Grand Tour. The programme we established enabled me to take a victory and achieve nice results in races of the highest level, so I'm convinced that we are on the right way. I loved the cobbles and it is my dream to add more classics like these in my programme in the future! »

« We worked hard to prepare this race with Biniam Girmay, but I have to admit that I'm impressed by his performance. After the finish, he showed a certain disappointment about missing the podium, which confirms my idea that he won't stop here. Within our team he can pursue his progression step by step thanks to our long term vision. A first participation in a Grand Tour is our next step and we're convinced that the next Tour of Italy is the right race for that. He will return within his family in Eritrea after Ghent-Wevelgem to prepare the next part of the season. »

General Classification


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