The E3 Classic Harelbeke (1.UWT) showed another exceptional performance of Biniam Girmay, the young Eritrean rider of the Belgian World Team. The rider from Asmara discovered the Flemish Ardennes this Friday and returned home with a fifth place after 204 kilometer with seventeen hills and eleven cobble sections around Harelbeke.
When a first selection was made on the Taaienberg with 75 kilometer to go, the 21 year old rider was together with Andrea Pasqualon present in the front of the peloton. Before, he benefited of the protection of his teammates in a stressful approach towards this key moment.
After the Taaienberg, Girmay and Pasqualon were part of a first chasing group 40 seconds behind the race lead. Thanks to an incredible effort on the next climb, the Eikenberg, Girmay managed to jump to the first group and continue the race in a leading group of sixteen riders.
The rider from Eritrea then brilliantly reacted to the multiple accelerations, among whom those from Jumbo-Visma who outnumbered their competitors, until a duo forced a decision on the Paterberg. Girmay was third on top of this difficulty and then chased together with seven other riders.
The race situation didn’t change anymore in the final race hour and the rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux sprinted for third place in Harelbeke. By taking fifth place, he obtained the best result in a Flemish World Tour classic in the team’s history, one week before his 22nd birthday.