Zedelgem - Belgiu - cycling - Girmay Hailu Biniam (ERI) of Intermarche - Wanty - Gobert Materiaux talking to the press during a press conference after winning as first african cyclist the Ghent - Wevelgem world tour cycling race on March 28, 2022 in Zedelgem, Belgium - Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2022

Star of the Classics Biniam Girmay has extended his contract

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux has announced that their Eritrean sprinter Biniam Girmay will ride on with the team until 2026.

by Kit Nicholson

photography by Cor Vos

On the eve of Biniam Girmay’s return to racing, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux has announced that their sprinter’s contract has been extended to the end of 2026.

“Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is my family, there’s no other place I would rather be,” Girmay said in the team’s statement. “I’m as motivated as ever to defend the team’s colors until at least 2026. I feel happy in this team and that’s what counts most, because that’s what enables me to give the best of myself. There’s also this shared ambition, all team members head in the same direction with the aim of reaching new milestones each year. These dynamics push everyone to surpass themselves.

“Another factor that distinguishes Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux from any other team is its management. From the first day, the Performance cell listened to my needs and showed its confidence by establishing a tailored race program and a long term plan. They believed in my capabilities of performing in the most prestigious races and I’m very grateful for that.”

This news comes a month after Girmay took a historic victory at Gent-Wevelgem, his last race of a successful spring before returning home to Eritrea to spend some time with his family. While he was away from Europe, rumours began to stir – inevitably – about contract negotiations, with the Ineos Grenadiers apparently interested in signing the breakthrough talent.

The 22-year-old still had a contract with the Belgian WorldTeam until 2024, but after a fantastic start to the year, the rider and team have extended their relationship for an additional two years.

“I’m convinced that my compatriots will be happy to hear that my future is intertwined with the team who gave me the opportunity to write important pages of African cycling history,” Girmay continued. “It is a winning combination which will hopefully lead to many more unforgettable moments in the next years!”

Girmay is now back in Europe for his next intensive racing block, starting with this weekend’s Eschborn-Frankfurt, which favours sprinters. He’s then expected to make his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia.

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