On Sunday March 27th, Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay offered a historical success to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux by winning Gent-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.
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.
“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 Gent-Wevelgem this Sunday. 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. 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!”
1.Biniam Girmay Hailu
3.Dries Van Gestel
11.Alexander Kristoff +0:08
52.Aimé De Gendt
DNF Kevin Van Melsen
DNF Taco van der Hoorn