After tasting success in last year’s Gent-Wevelgem, Biniam Girmay is planning to go one better and target the Tour of Flanders in 2023.
The Eritrean rider had a sensational start to the year for Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert, taking the honours at Gent-Wevelgem, becoming the first African rider to do so in the process.
Girmay then continued his scintillating form, outsprinting Mathieu Van der Poel - the two time Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche champion - to land a stage victory at the Giro d’Italia.
Now he has officially become the first black African to win a Belgian classic, and the first black African to win a grand tour stage, Girmay is hungry for more.
According to WielerFlits, Girmay is training for potential Tour of Flanders participation. Based on his performances in 2022, the Eritrean can realistically target victory in the monument.
Girmay said: “I hope to participate in the Tour of Flanders and the Tour de France next year. After my first encounter with the Flemish classics, it is certainly a goal to prepare myself even better for these races.”
As well as the Tour of Flanders, Girmay admitted that being included in his team's lineup for the Tour de France is also high on his list of 2023 targets.
“It would be a dream come true,” Girmay added.
Girmay has big ambitions, but the rampant success that he experienced at the start of the year comes at a cost. He explained that he expects to have a marker on his back next year, making his aim of the Tour of Flanders increasingly difficult as he will no longer be afforded the space to lie low within the peloton.
“Yes, clearly it will be harder. It is good to see that my respect in the peloton has grown, but the bad thing is that they will be watching me more,” Girmay added.
The opening week of the 2023 Tour features multiple punchy stages in the heart of the Spanish Basque country, something which could very much work in Girmay’s favour when team management at Intermarché begin to draw-up their squad.
After the recent Tour route presentation in Paris, Aike Visbeek, the performance manager for the Belgian team admitted that the opening week very much suits the talents of the team's star man.
“The many climbs in the initial stages increase Biniam's chances,” Visbeek said.
“This is the type of course we had hoped for with the selection we had in mind,” Visbeek added.
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