On Tuesday, 21-year old Biniam Girmay was rewarded for his incredible 2021 season and elected as African Cyclist of the Year by a jury presided by Bernard Hinault.
Biniam Girmay of Eritrea joined Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in August 2021 and made immediate impact in his first appearance on the Tour de Pologne. On the attack, Girmay managed to finish in the top 10 of his first day of racing with the Belgian team.
He then took 7th place of the Druivenkoerse Overijse and a week later, earned a fantastic win on the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs, rivaling climbers such as Nairo Quintana and Thibault Pinot on the hills before defeating them in a sprint. The next day, he took 7th place in the hilly Tour du Jura, and the day after repeated his second place from the 2020 Tour du Doubs.
His stunning month of September would eventually end on a historic note, with the young Eritrean earning the silver medal at the U23 World Championships in Leuven, thanks to a sublime sprint finish.
With this achievement, Biniam Girmay made history as the first Black African rider to earn a medal at the World Championships, and the first African rider to do so since his teammate Louis Meintjes of South Africa, back in 2013.
Bini delivered two additional 5th place finishes in one-day races Route Adélie de Vitré and Gran Piemonte maneuvering through hectic and dangerous finales.
Both African riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert were nominated early in the month to become African Cyclist of the Year by the organizers of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo.
The jury presided by 5-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault chose Biniam Girmay on 14 December, the 21-year old receiving the award for the second year in a row.