The 22-year-old confirmed his rising form just in time for a run at the rainbow jersey later this month when he kicked to third behind winner Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citroën) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco).
“I’m very happy with this third place at my first participation in the GP de Québec,” Girmay said. “It feels unreal to achieve a podium from such a strong field of riders with many of world’s best classic riders.”
Girmay is using the pair of Canadian races this weekend to prepare for a return to the worlds.
Last year, he made history by becoming the first African to land on a worlds podium when he was second in the U23 men’s road race.
Coming into his first full WorldTour season, the Eritrean rider has continued to blaze trails, including winning Gent-Wevelgem in the spring classics and his first career grand tour stage at the Giro d’Italia in May.
After recovering from a freak accident when an exploding cork on the winner’s podium struck his eye, he returned to European racing in July. Though he has yet to win a race, he’s been banging into the top-5 consistently all summer.
A pair of crashes, however, set back his preparation for his highly anticipated debut in the elite men’s ranks in Wollongong, and Friday’s ride at Québec against a field stacked with worlds favorites confirmed he’s on rainbow jersey form.
“This is my preparation for the world championships, and that’s why we decided to race here,” Girmay said. “For the worlds, my shape is coming up, and I am happy with my performance right now. We hope to keep going like this all the way to Australia.”
Girmay: ‘The level was very high’