“It’s amazing,” his directeur sportif Valerio Piva said. “We believed since the morning. We tried to motivate all the team, and we saw a fantastic team around him today. He finished in an amazing sprint against a big champion like Van der Poel. This victory is more important because he beat one of the top riders in the world.”
Girmay went straight home after his success at Gent-Wevelgem, despite many suggestions he should race the Tour of Flanders as well. However, he decided to spend some time with his family and it clearly worked. Will he continue to win more stages? We wouldn’t be surprised. He should definitely target the points jersey at the Giro. And perhaps try for the Škoda Green Jersey at the Tour next year. We’d love to see him there.
— Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (@IntermarcheWG) May 18, 2022
“Unbelievable,” was all Girmay could say at first after the stage. “The team controlled the race from the start,” he continued. “I don’t have any words for my team but what they did today, I’m really happy. Unbelievable.
“All the team, everybody was pulling, even the GC riders, like you saw Pozzovivo, Jan Hirt, Rein Tarrame, everyone. They did a super great job and in the end, Pozzo was amazing. He just said ‘come in the last 600 m,’ he did a really good lead-out and then amazing.
“Until I started the Giro, we had a possibility to win, to make good results, so this is part of the success, my team, my family, everybody. Every day new history comes, so I’m really grateful and happy with what I did.”
Girmay is already a huge star back at home and Eritrean fans follow him around the European races as well. Is he on the path to becoming a true cycling superstar? It seems very likely.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to an eye injury caused by popping a prosecco cork into his eye, Girmay pulled out of the race and did not start stage 11.