Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay Wins Gent Wevelgem Classic
Biniam Girmay of Eritrea has won the 84th edition of Gent-Wevelgem one-day cycling race in a spectacular fashion and become the first African to win the Flemish Classic.
The 21-year-old, who was part of a four-rider breakaway in the final 30km of the epic 248.8km run, sprinted to win ahead of Laporte and Van Gestel.
“It’s unbelievable, amazing. I cannot expect this. We just change my plan a few days ago on Friday. We just came for a good result. This race is amazing. Unbelievable,” Girmay said after the finish.
“I don’t think [I’ll stay for Tour of Flanders]. I stayed here a long time – three months. I miss my wife and daughter so I go back home.
Girmay is one of the talented cyclists in Africa and came to the race just few weeks after managing stage two of Tour de Alpes Maritimes et du Var win.
“Of course I feel much better but also there’s really strong guys with me so I’m a bit afraid. But I felt confident in the last 250 metres. It’s unbelievable, yeah. It changed a lot in the future, especially for all African riders,” he added.
“I lost many places, especially on the first section and on the first cobblestones. I felt a bit uncomfortable. But after i felt better and better, rode smart, followed. Then in the end you know everybody is waiting for Van Aert so I played it a bit easy.”
In his short career, Girmay has won stages of Africa’s most prestigious races, the Tour du Rwanda and Gabon’s Tropicale Amissa Bongo.
He scored his first road world medal for Eritrea at the U-23’ men’s race at World Championships in September 2021
The youngster picked up cycling as a pre-teen, initially racing on the mountain bike before discovering his talents on the road.
He made his name as a future cycling star when he took a clean sweep of the African national championships in 2018.