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Biniam Girmay on Winning the Surf Coast Classic: “My team was super good – they did perfect”

By Monica Buck

In a display of remarkable sprinting prowess, Biniam Girmay of Intermarché-Wanty clinched the top spot at the Surf Coast Classic on Thursday, besting Elia Viviani of Ineos Grenadiers in a closely contested race. The victory in Torquay marked a significant achievement for Girmay, as he elevated his series of Australian podium finishes to a victorious celebration.

Joining Girmay on the podium was Corbin Strong of Israel-Premier Tech, who secured the third spot. Strong’s podium finish was particularly commendable given his recent recovery from a stomach illness that led to his withdrawal from the Tour Down Under.

The race commenced in the ocean-side town of Lorne, unfolding under mild conditions that diverged from the typical Australian summer heat. An early breakaway formed shortly after the start, comprising Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-EasyPost), Bauke Mollema and Natnael Tesfazion of Lidl-Trek, William Eaves (ARA Skip Capital), and Zac Marriage (Team BridgeLane). This group established a significant lead in the initial kilometers.

As the race progressed inland, traversing through Deans Marsh towards Barwon Downs and Forrest, the breakaway maintained its position at the front. However, the peloton, never losing sight of the leaders, began to reel in the breakaway as the race neared its conclusion.

Reflecting on the race dynamics and his team’s strategy, Girmay stated, “After the Tour Down Under I felt super good so I said to my team today we need to control as much as we can, also we need to be smart, find the better wheel and I think we did a good job. Also my team was super good – they did perfect.”

The final kilometers, leading to the popular beachside destination of Torquay, were lined with challenges, including critical turns and road furniture. Girmay acknowledged the crucial role of positioning in the last leg of the race, “The main thing today we talked about is the last 5km, we need to be in the right wheel because we don’t have the big guys to chase in the front to go through,” he said. “But I think we managed really well to stay in the perfect position and also in the last part we moved up.”

His strategic positioning and team support culminated in a powerful final sprint, allowing Girmay to outpace Viviani and claim the victory. Reflecting on his mindset during the decisive moments, Girmay confidently remarked, “For sure the last corner … I am just thinking today is my day.”

Surf Coast Classic results

  1. Biniam Girmay, Intermarché-Wanty, Time: 02:37:40
  2. Elia Viviani, INEOS Grenadiers, +00
  3. Corbin Strong, Israel-Premier Tech, +00
  4. Milan Fretin, Cofidis, +00
  5. Laurence Pithie, Groupama-FDJ, +00
  6. Max Kanter, Astana Qazaqstan Team, +00
  7. Madis Mihkels, Intermarché-Wanty, +00
  8. Piet Allegaert, Cofidis, +00
  9. Emils Liepins, Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL, +00
  10. Daniel McLay, ARKEA-B&B HOTELS, +00