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Biniam Girmay has signed a new long-term deal with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert through to the end of the 2026 season, his team has announced.

The 22-year-old Eritrean joined the Belgian squad midway through the 2021 season after leaving the troubled French Delko squad and went on to make history at the Leuven World Championships, taking silver in the U23 road race.

This season, Girmay has impressed throughout the spring, winning the Trofeo Alcúdia in January before taking fifth at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and then becoming the first African rider to win a major Classic at Gent-Wevelgem.

His success at Gent-Wevelgem brought talk of a new contract, with Cycling News understanding that he and his agent Alex Carera would sign a new deal with the team worth three times his previous contract of €300,000 per season.

Reports in Italy suggested that Ineos Grenadiers were interested in signing Girmay, who was already under contract to 2024, but he has now committed to the squad for the long term with his new deal lasting for four seasons.

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“Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert is my family, there’s no other place I would rather be,” Girmay said. “I’m as motivated as ever to defend the team’s colours 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 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. 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. It is a winning combination which will hopefully lead to many more unforgettable moments in the next years!”

Girmay, who is based in San Marino, returned to Eritrea following his Gent-Wevelgem win after extending his spring campaign to take on the race. He’s back in Europe now following his break from racing and will take on the Eschborn-Frankfurt WorldTour race on Sunday before heading to Hungary for his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia.

He’s set to target a stage win at the Corsa Rosa and could even bid for the ciclamino points jersey, while, going forward, he’ll be a figurehead in his team’s Classics squad for years to come.

“Continuing the adventure we started last summer with Biniam Girmay was a matter of course. We have always believed in his capabilities and his talent, and this is probably what convinced him to join our project last year when he had to reorientate his career,” team CEO Jean-François Bourlart said.

“From his first pedal strokes in our colours we have been able to welcome him as a family and at the same time offer him a long-term plan and a performance-oriented structure, thanks to our members, our experts, our technical partners et cetera.

“I was convinced that he would be the first African winner of a major classic. But he has been faster than our predictions, so much the better! We are proud that we can continue working with Biniam until at least the end of 2026. This offers us nice perspectives in line with our long-term philosophy, which has always been based on long relationships with our partners.

“Let’s not forget that Biniam is only 22 years old and that we cannot cut corners in his development. I’m convinced that we can surround him with the right people and a good team and that Biniam and our other riders will offer us many more exceptional emotions!”

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SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Daniel Ostanek
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