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Biniam Girmay – Press conference takeaways

In his first participation in Ghent-Wevelgem, Biniam Girmay added his name to cycling history by becoming the first African rider to win a World Tour classic, and this at the age of 21. The Eritrean rider answered the questions of the press in hotel Zuidwege in Zedelgem this Monday, together with Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager).

Biniam Girmay:
« What happened this Sunday was an incredible experience. In the evening, I celebrated my victory with the team. All of them were happy to see me win, some even more than me. The messages with congratulations arrived by the thousands, and so do interview requests from over the world. I’m expecting a big party at my arrival in Eritrea, not only to celebrate my victory but also to honor the multiple African titles won by my compatriots last week. I also have to go back to my country to see my nearest, it is important to have them close to me. » 

« I start to realize what happened to me yesterday. Not many riders had the chance to win such a classic at my age. Compared to the World Championships in Leuven, winning Ghent-Wevelgem is even more significant for the African continent. Because it is an Elite event, against the best riders in the world. »

« The support of my team was decisive in the realization of this historical event. As I never participated in Ghent-Wevelgem before, I didn’t have points of recognition. I relied on the instructions of my sports directors from the first to the last kilometer. They guided me towards the road to victory and the perfect scenario came true. When I saw the 300 meter sign, I was confident in my sprint. Starting my effort with 250 meter to go might have seemed a little early, but for an explosive rider like me it was a perfect distance. »  

« In my eyes, a family atmosphere is paramount for my well-being. It is one of the reasons making me feel good within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and I wish to stay as long as possible. The dynamics in the team are in constant growth. We progress together as a family and we saw yesterday where our project can bring us. »

« Now, it’s been three months since I haven’t seen my wife and my girl, it is important that I take care of them. Together with the team, we established a nice race programme which led to a fantastic success. This planning did not include the Tour of Flanders and I don’t intend to change it. I’m still young, I will have other opportunities to include more cobble classics in my programme in the future and that’s my wish. »

« I will now focus on my preparation for the Tour of Italy, my first Grand Tour. At home in Asmara, I can train in optimal conditions at 2400 meter of altitude. Until now, I was spared of physical problems and crashes, my condition is good. Our goal in the Giro will be completing our main objective, winning a stage. »

Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager) :
« What Biniam Girmay realized is above all expectations. We knew that his level was high when he finished twelfth in his first Milano-San Remo and fifth in a race such as E3 Harelbeke. We thought that with these capabilities a podium in Ghent-Wevelgem was possible. It was for this reason that we decided to add him to our roster here instead of La Roue Tourangelle. And then he wrote a memorable page of cycling. »

« This success also reflects the dynamics of our team. Next to young talents such as Biniam Girmay, we also have very experienced riders such as Alexander Kristoff, Adrien Petit and Andrea Pasqualon. We were one of the best represented teams in the front Sunday and this shows the perfect balance within our team. » 

« This alchemy takes place in the races, but also out of competition. In the morning, the riders enjoy meeting each other at breakfast before the tactical meeting. Not many teams can pride themselves on such a friendly environment. The human side is also an important factor in the fairytale we experienced yesterday. »


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