This Friday, Biniam Girmay Hailu represented Eritrea at the U23 World Championships. The rider who joined Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert in August was considered as one of the riders to watch during the race of 161.1 kilometer between thee historical cities of Antwerp and Leuven. And at the age of 21, Girmay rose to the occasion by displaying an impressive and mature performance.
He was omnipresent at the front of the peloton from the first to the last kilometer of the race, thus avoiding problems on the Flandrien circuit in Overijse, despite the nervousness and numerous crashes in the beginning phase. Girmay left the final cobble section in a peloton of forty riders, which had just swallowed the early breakaway.
A very attractive race followed on the circuit in Leuven, so it was unclear until the finish whether the race would end in a group sprint or not. Girmay remained patient and kept positioning well, he survived the uncountable rhythm changes in the city centre and headed towards the final five kilometers within a heavily skimmed peloton.
Italian rider Baroncini took advantage of a lull in the approach to the final kilometer, and distanced his competitors in no time. Thanks to a mind-blowing finish, Biniam Girmay went past his competitors one by one to win the bunch sprint, 2 seconds behind the new world champion.
By earning the silver medal, Biniam Girmay Hailu makes history as the first rider of Eritrea and black Africa to finish on the podium of the World Championships. It is an interesting fact, knowing that the 2025 Road World Championships were assigned to Rwanda the day before. Girmay became the first medallist from Africa since his teammate at Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Louis Meintjes (South Africa) took second place in 2013, also in the U23 road race.