“THIS VICTORY IS CRAZY!” GIRMAY REFLECTS ON HISTORIC RIDE
Eritrean Biniam Girmay said he is still coming to grips with his “crazy” victory in Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, which saw him become the first African cyclist to win a one-day classic. Girmay, who turns 22 next Saturday, was speaking at a press conference the day after his historic success and admitted the glare of publicity was not his thing. Girmay’s victory was all the more remarkable as he had never previously raced on a cobblestone surface.
“I know where I come from, this victory is crazy!,” opined a smiling Girmay at the press conference held in Zedelgem.
“It was really emotional when I crossed the line, I could not bring myself to believe I had won.
“I love cycling and winning but cameras are not really my thing, I do not think I am ready for all that.”
Girmay said he had received “thousands of messages” congratulating him, though he had been unable to reply to them all. But he has found the time to call his wife back home in the Eritrean capital Asmara.
“I am really keen to go home,” he said.
“Family for me is the most important thing, I must look after them.”
According to Flemish channel VRT, Girmay has not seen his wife and daughter for three months. This is due to be remedied as he is taking a flight out of Paris later on Monday.
He also said he wants to continue with his team Intermarche. Girmay succeeded where other African riders had fallen short before, including his compatriot Daniel Teklehaimanot who briefly donned the polka dot jersey for best climber in the 2015 Tour de France.
Girmay’s victory continued a strong campaign. He won a race in Mallorca at the end of January, then finished 12th in the Milan-San Remo and fifth in the E3 Classic last Friday.
RBA/AFP Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency