Binyam Girmai, from last-minute guest to African pioneer – News

The opening of the E3 Saxo Classic, Binyam Ghirmay (4th Friday in Harelbeek) on Sunday fared even better. Intermarché-Wanty member Gobert-Materiaux won the Ghent-Wevelgem (see rating). A historic success for African cycling that has never won a race of this caliber. “I don’t know how I was able to achieve such a feat. I’m even a little ashamed of beating guys who have ten times more experience than me.”– he confesses at the microphone DirectVelo. The decisive gap was formed 22 kilometers before the finish line. The return of the peloton was resisted by the quartet Binyama Zhirmet, Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) and the Belgians Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). “I tried to drive smart because everyone was looking at Wut van Aert. Logically, given what he showed on Friday. Nobody wanted to take him to the track, it was the right choice.” The 2021 Classic Grand Besançon Doubs winner seems to have started his sprint too far. At 250 meters with a headwind, he should have been a bird for the cat. “I was confronted by three clients. I was a little afraid of them, but, being in the last position, I tried to shoot from afar. It was the perfect distance for me.”


And come to think of it, the 21-year-old Eritrean shouldn’t have been in that race at all. “We just decided to add this event to the program. My unexpected good result on Friday was decisive. Basically, I needed to make the Turangel wheel, but I wanted to gain experience and why not make a story. over the cobblestones of Kemmelberg for the first time, but then it was better. After all, I was right to land here. I have to say that I love the Belgian races, they are very suitable for me, and then, the people on the side of the road are great, they cheer me all the time, I feel the love of the public, it inspires me.

Teammates are also impressed with his performance. “This guy is insane”free Aimé de Gendt. “Last year he was already strong, but now he is phenomenal. He didn’t know what Kemmelberg looked like at the briefing.” The Frenchman Adrian Petit illustrates this with another example. “When we talk to him about Old Quermont, he doesn’t even know if there are cobblestones or not.” The lack of knowledge that fascinates Aimé de Gendt. “We always say that you need experience to master the Classic, and he drives here like he has lived in Belgium all his life, it’s just incredible. He digests Kemmelberg with his fingers in his nose. He shows no signs of weakness. “ Seeing him launch his sprint from afar doesn’t surprise him either. “Like with Paris-Nice, when you look at his sprints, he always shoots very far. So that’s his calling card.” For Adrian Petit, who has dealt with many runners in his career, “Biniam Zhirmay has every chance to make a brilliant career. You get to know him better, he listens, and this will help him achieve great success. It has a crazy engine. He surprises everyone in the world, even if it’s over.” now he will be a target in races.”


On this condition, Intermarché-Vanti-Gobert Materio will surely regret not seeing him at work next Sunday at the Tour of Flanders. But the basic plan will be followed. On Monday, he returns to his country to see his family, whom he has not seen since January 10. He will stay there for a month. “My wife and daughter live in Africa. I miss them. I need to see them.” He will return to competition at the Frankfurt Grand Prix on May 1 before taking part in his first Grand Tour, the Tour of Italy. “We discussed it at the table. He is young and has other goals, including the Giro, we should not miss stages. Sooner or later he will have the opportunity to discover the Tour of Flanders.” notes Adrian Petit. His sporting director Eike Wiesbeck will have another talk with him tonight at the hotel. Not to make him change his mind, but to take advantage of this success with their colt. “Obviously it would be nice to see him at work next Sunday at the Ronda, but we stick to our plan. We must not exaggerate. It is hard for him to be separated from his loved ones. he also breaks down mentally.”

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