Biniam Girmay is an Eritrean professional cyclist who rides for Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux. Despite his young age, Girmay has made himself to be one of the most popular road cyclists, as he became the most successful East African cyclist in modern times, and has world-class potential in the cobbled and hilly classics, aswell as challenging some of the best sprinters in the world.
Name: Biniam Girmay
Birthday: 2 April 2000
Birthplace: Asmara, Eritrea
Turned Pro: 2020
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Biniam Girmay was born on the 2nd of April 2000 in the Eritrean capital of Asmara. His results in the early 2020's have made him one of the most popular African riders, and a cornerstone of cycling's diversity and evolution in poorer areas of the continent. Girmay is a sprinter, puncheur and classics rider who is amongst the best within the field despite his young age.
Riding for Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, Girmay currently rides Cube bikes. His contract with the Belgian team currently stands until 2026, with his salary currently above €1 million euros per season. Girmay is married to Saliem Hizkel and the couple have welcomed their first child in 2021.
Girmay discovered cycling through his cousin Moron Teshome, a former Eritrean and African Continental champion. His talent was picked up ever since he was young, and in his final junior years in 2018 he was brought in to the World Cycling Centre, a team based in Switzerland which regularly signs riders from under-developed countries and provides an opportunity for them to show their worth at international level. Having won the African road race and time-trial championships was a strong result, but having aswell beaten Remco Evenepoel in a stage at the Belgian Aubel - Thimister - Stavelot race - alongside several other consistent results in Europe.
He stayed with the team in 2019 as he transitioned into under-23 level, beginning his season in Africa where he won a stage at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo and another at the Tour du Rwanda. The rest of the season didn't see meaningful results, but he's shown his climbing ability at the Tour de l'Avenir, and lured in the attention of the NIPPO DELKO One Provence team which saw him rise to Pro Team level. In 2020 he quickly entered the season with two wins at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, and an incredibly consistent Tour du Rwanda, alongside a second place at the Trofeo Laigueglia,
After a long break, something which Girmay does to this day due to visa limitations which require him to be in Eritrea every few months, he returned to Europe to finish the season strongly with strong results at the Settimana Internazionale, Tour du Doubs and Giro della Toscana. In 2021 the season was again split into two large stints in Europe, the first of which with DELKO but without many flashy results, but as the team disbanded due to it's financial situation, Girmay was a free agent.
In August, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux signed the Eritrean. A move that would be hugely beneficial for both sides, as within 12 months he was to become the face of the team. He won his first European race just a month later at the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs. He later rode the under-23 World Championships where he really fell in the spotlight, as he almost took the win in Leuven, sprinting to second place only behind Filippo Baroncini who had attacked earlier.
2022 however was Girmay's true breakthrough year. Starting the season with 21 years of age and virtually no experience in the cobbled classics, it was a surprise to see him finish 5th, racing amongst the very best classics specialists at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic. This results was incredibly encouraging, and leading the Belgian team he prolonged his stay in Europe to race Gent-Wevelgem - the race that would change his life. The last day of his spring campaign, he got himself in the winning move of four riders, and sprinted to the win of his first World Tour race.
This came after an early season win at the Trofeo Alcúdia, but his popularity rose to a sky-high level. And it only grew as he made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia, and sprinted to second place behind Mathieu van der Poel in the opening stage. Girmay would ride into four Top5 places throughout the opening week as he looked for a win in the flat and hilly stages,
His second week saw him start out with an incredibly popular win once again, as Intermarché managed to control the difficult hilly stage into Jesi, where Girmay this time around beat van der Poel to the stage win. In the podium celebrations however, he accidentally got hit by the champagne bottle's cork in the eye and had to be transported to the hospital. Despite stable, he had to abandon the race because of it. The rest of his season saw him win the time-trial national championships in Eritrea, and most noticeably finish third in the World Tour-ranked GP de Québec - before a second place at the GP de Wallonie where he was once again going head-to-head with van der Poel.
In 2023 his position in the World Tour had stabilized and he was now not a rider who'd be given the freedom to surprise. Girmay won a bunch sprint at the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana which had him start the year on a good run of form. He had his full focus in preparing for the cobbled classics this time around however he was far from his best level. He beat Arnaud Démare and Wout van Aert to a victory at the Tour de Suisse before a debut at the Tour de France. He didn't manage to take a stage win however rode to third on stage 7. After the Tour he was involved in a controversy, as it was reported that he wasn't provided a visa to participate in the World Championships. He managed to return to Europe later in the fall but without meaningful results to add to his palmarès.
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