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Gent - Wevelgem

Biniam Girmay makes history

On Sunday March 27th, Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay offered a historical success to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux by winning Ghent-Wevelgem (2.UWT). At the age of 21, the rider from Asmara became the first African rider to win a World Tour classic, and the first rider of the team to win a Flemish World Tour classic. The success was even more resounding for the Belgian World Team as it happened exactly six years after the loss of Antoine Demoité in the same race.

After his incredible performance in the E3 Classic three days before, Biniam Girmay won in a sprint with four riders after launching his effort 250 meter before the line of the race of 248 kilometer. In his first participation in the race, Girmay concluded an exemplary collective performance of the team of Jean-François Bourlart, which could also rely on the presence of Alexander Kristoff (11th), Andrea Pasqualon (14th) and Adrien Petit (38th) in the first chasing group 8 seconds behind the winner.

Biniam Girmay reached the top of the third passage on the Kemmelberg in a second group and managed to join the race lead with 27 kilometer to go thanks to the support of his three teammates, before attacking with three other riders 2 kilometer later. After 25 exciting kilometers, the quartet sprinted for the victory in the streets of Wevelgem and it was the rider from Asmara who triumphed after five and a half hours of racing.

« This historical victory is so important for myself, for my team, for African cycling! Since the E3 Classic, my very first Flemish classic, I fell in love with the cobbles. I didn’t hesitate one moment when the team offered me the chance to conclude my spring with Ghent-Wevelgem this Sunday. Just like on Friday, I heard the many encouragements of the fans. I never imagined ending this day with a victory, because it is so difficult to race the Flemish classics without experience. I want to thank my team for their belief in me. In each race, I can rely on the unconditional support of my teammates. The instructions from the team car were very precious. It was only in the final hectometers that I started to believe in the victory. I launched my sprint with 250 meter to go, I closed my eyes and I gave all I had left. I don’t realize what happened yet, I just became the first African rider to win a classic! »

« This is a historical victory for our team, for African cycling and for cycling in general. Since the loss of Antoine Demoitié we have a particular link with this race, offering this historical succes another dimension. We were very proud that Biniam Girmay chose for our team last season, when we stepped up to the World Tour in 2021. The credits go to Biniam Girmay, who made many sacrifices for several years to become a professional rider. He worked very hard to achieve this level and his investment led to a fantastic success today. We will celebrate this success with all our partners, staff and riders! »

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