Biniam Girmay "will put Wout van Aert at number one" favourite for World Championships, but aims just as high

Biniam Girmay will be one of the biggest wildcards of the men's Elite World Championships Road Race, and taking into consideration how the under-23 race saw several sprinters survive the climbs, Girmay may find himself in a better position towards the big goal.

“I thought it couldn't get any crazier. But after my victories this year in Gent-Wevelgem and a stage in the Giro d'Italia, it was even more extreme," Girmay told Wielerflits. His trip to Australia didn't come as an issue, as he explained his travel experience: "I grew up traveling in recent years. I have been traveling almost continuously since I was seventeen. Every two or three months I keep returning from Europe to Eritrea to be with my family, relatives and friends again."

"After such a period I need to be in my familiar environment again. And I can train perfectly in Eritrea, because I already live there at an altitude of 2400 meters. So I certainly don't mind that extra trip for Australia," he said. Based on that, his current strong season and suiting route, Girmay will be leading Eritrea at the World Championships where his performances heavily influenced the nation to have six riders at the men's Elite Road Race.

Racing at this level and distance will be a challenge to many, Girmay included. “It's true that I don't have that much experience on those long distances compared to the older riders. But, this year I have already ridden several races far above two hundred kilometers. Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and Plouay all suited me well and I always finished in the first place," he pointed out however. "The last month I have also regularly trained five to seven hours. I am convinced that my preparation for this World Championship is good.”

He'll face tough competition, however will be a contender for the medals. “I don't believe there is just one favourite. I will put Wout van Aert at number one. Behind it Michael Matthews, who can race in his own country and gets a course that is tailor-made for him. In the GP de Montréal, Tadej Pogačar also proved that he is one of the favorites," he said, regarding some of the riders who will be racing alongside him towards the end.

Regarding tactics, the 22-year old remained conservative. “But how I should organize my race, that is something I have to determine in the race. You can't make many plans. There is no communication through the earphones (radio), that makes a world of difference.”

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