Girmay’s challenge

At the World Cups in Belgium, in 2021, Biniam Girmay (22 years old) dazzled the world of cycling after winning silver in the U-23 long-distance event. He wasn’t gold by inches an honor that corresponded to the Italian Filippo Baroncinibut the Eritrean was the great sensation after his impressive final comeback. He became the first African runner to medal in a World Cup.

Since then, the Intermarché knew that it had a pearl among its ranks. For this reason, he was renewed until 2026, giving him a leading role since then. He has nine victories in his record, although the two World Tour that appear on his resume shine with their own light: the Ghent-Wevelgem and a stage in the Giro d’Italia… in which a subsequent cork when opening the winner’s bottle of champagne hit him in the eye and he had to leave. A bad memory left behind.

Now, in 2023, he opened the season in the Mallorca Challenge (he won a Trophy in 2022) and got on the podium twice: third in the Ses Salines Trophy and second in the Palma Trophy. He resisted the victory, but he showed a good state of form: “I feel good and the team is at a high level. The winter was good, alternating time at home with team concentrations”, told AS during the Mallorca Challenge. After a great 2022 from the Intermarché, by 2023 they had numerous casualties: Hermans, Kristoff, Pozzovivo, Hirt, Pasqualon… and, despite this, they lead the UCI ranking this January ahead of millionaire powers such as the UAE, Ineos and Jumbo. Almost nothing.

Binyam Girmay.

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Binyam Girmay.CHEMA DIAZACE DAILY

Girmay contributes to this with his good positions at the start of the season. “It is true that in just two years everything changed a lot in my career. I feel like it’s all been very fast and it’s nice to see what’s happening.”stressed the Eritrean, who made the leap to the Belgian team in August 2021. Spain is a country that he likes “especially because of the good weather” and that is why he will follow his calendar in our country: today he will take the exit in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

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He likes to spend time in his native Eritrea, with his family, so it is usual that several times throughout the season they travel for a few weeks with their loved ones. The objectives for this year are well defined: “The classics. They are my favorite races and if I had to dream of a victory, it would be with a Monument”. For the Eritrean, the 2022 season was a great debut in numerous one-day races, and after that he acquired an experience that he hopes to apply this year. It will be in principle in the Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, the Paris-Roubaix… and its premiere will arrive in the Tour de France on July 1: “It is exciting to be in a race like this, although there is still a long way to go”he added. For this campaign, the Intermarché prioritized signing runners who could help and protect Girmay in these objectives, although they know that they will no longer have that surprise factor. They trust their star.

The UCI hopes that African cycling will grow

Cycling is historically a European sport, territory where the best races on the calendar are usually held, although the interest of the UCI is to increasingly expand the events of the season: Australia, Argentina, Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates… and Africa as an emerging continent. Eritrea is the great dominator in the tests against other Africans, and it is that in addition to Girmay, there are three more riders on the World Tour: Merhawi Kudus (Education First), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Natnael Tesfatsion (both on the Trek). Africa has famous races such as the Tour of Rwanda and the Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Gabon)… and in 2025, the highlight: the World Cups will be in Rwanda. For the first time, in Africa.

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