2022 UCI World Championships: Can Eritrea Win its First Ever Rainbow Jersey?

“I’m ready for the World Championships” – Biniam Girmay

2022 UCI World Championships Elite Men’s Road Race
#Wollongong2022: Biniam Girmay was second last year in the under 23 category – can he go one better at this years World Elite Men’s Road Race?

BY TRISTAN REES | WORLD IN SPORT

The Elite Men’s Road Race will take place this Sunday as part of the 2022 UCI World Championships in Wollongong, Australia. The list of the favorite contenders for the World Elite Men’s Road Race has been narrowed down to six riders.

One of the potential protagonists of this most important one-day race of the year is Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay.

The year 2022 has already been most successful season in the career of Biniam Girmay. His performances at the Spring Classics showed he is good enough to compete in races such as the World Elite Men’s Road Race.

He, like many on this list is a versatile rider. However, what makes him stand out, is his sprint finish. Whereas some riders on this list, despite having a strong kick, might not want to rely on it, Girmay has proven he is happy to wait for a sprint and for good reason: he is capable of beating almost anyone in the final kick to the line.

An example of this was his stage win at this year’s Giro where he out sprinted Mathieu van der Poel in a reduced bunch sprint. A feat not many riders can claim to have achieved. This win on stage 10 of this year’s Giro d’Italia further exemplified his talent after months of consistent showings at the biggest races.

His victory at Gent Wevelgem – one of the most important Spring Classics on the calendar – was on the back of several top 5 placings earlier in the year.

Like Pogačar, Girmay will not have the same strength in depth on his team as the likes of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. This might not necessarily be a problem, the Eritrean has shown he can operate effectively without having teammates to help in the finale of races.

In a race where often there is only one member from each country in the select group, this experience could prove vital for him as others who are more used to having teammates late on in races may struggle.

Biniam Girmay has already made history this season, as the first male Black African to win a Spring Classic and also a Grand Tour stage. He has a good track record at the World Championships. Last year he finished second in the under 23 category. This year he could be in with a good shout to upgrade that silver medal to a gold one at the World Elite Men’s Road Race.

The other potential protagonists, in no particular order, are:

2022 World Championship Road Race
Pre Race Favorites For 2022 World Championship Road Race. (Photo: Velon CC)