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History made: Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay is Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields champion

First Black African to win a cobbled Classic

Photo by: Sirotti

Biniam Girmay made history on Sunday as Flanders Week kicked off with Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields. Girmay is the first Black African to win a cobbled Classic, outsprinting three breakmates for the victory. Hugo Houle, the only Canadian in the race, was 55th.


You can watch Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders on FloBikes.

The Course

The men’s peloton had seven climbs, six sections of cobbles and three cobbled climbs, almost all of it packed into the final 100 km. The riders would ascend the famed Kemmelberg twice from the Belvedère side, but the final climb from the Ossuaire side was 10 percent average with a max of 22 percent and peaked 33 km from the finish line in Wevelgem.

A septet of fugitives got away early and rolled up a 6:00 gap over the peloton on their way to the first hill, Scherpenberg. By the first assault of the Kemmelberg-Belvedère the lead was only 1:10. Wout Van Aert led the field over the top. Between Kemmelberg I and the Monteberg, Strade Bianche winner Matej Mohoric and Greg Van Avermaet created a little group that excluded Van Aert. By but the second trip up Kemmelberg it was together again.

By Kemmelberg III-Ossuaire the peloton had been whittled down by several moves, with Jumbo-Visma very active. Van Aert’s teammate Christophe Laporte led the way. Van Aert attacked. On the other side of the final hill there was another reformation, creating a 30-strong bunch.

Van Aert attacks on the final climb of the Kemmelberg.

Laporte made a dig with 25 km to go. This fragmented the peloton. With 19 km remaining Laporte was in a leading quartet containing Jasper Stuyven, Van Avermaet was in a chasing 19 seconds back and Van Aert with 15 fellows 24 seconds in arrears. Girmay and Dries Van Gestel were the other fellows in the foursome.

Twenty-three chasers had 37 seconds to make up in 10 km. Twenty seconds remained with 3 km to go. Girmay led under the red kite. Girmay went from 250 metres out and staved off the efforts of the other riders for the famous win. Laporte was second; he was also runner-up in Friday’s E3 Saxo Bank too.

Dwars door Vlaanderen is on Wednesday and the Tour of Flanders is next Sunday.

2022 Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields
1) Biniam Girmay (Eritrea/Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) 5:37:57
2) Christophe Laporte (France/Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
3) Dries Van Gestel (Belgium/TotalEnergies) s.t.
55) Hugo Houle (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) +1:30