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Biniam Girmay regains form just before Tour debut and beats Démare and Van Aert in Switzerland

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 12 June 2023

NOS CyclingToday, 17:23

Girmay regains form just before Tour debut and beats Démare and Van Aert in Switzerland

In the run-up to his debut in the Tour de France, Biniam Girmay has shown that he is back in good shape. The Eritrean won the bunch sprint in the second stage of the Tour of Switzerland.

In a long sprint, Girmay came out of the wheel of Wout van Aert, who started very early. The Belgian from Jumbo-Visma also had to pass Arnaud Démare and finished third. Mike Teunissen, who dropped teammate Girmay in front, was the best Dutchman in the day result in ninth place.

Today was just one of two opportunities for sprinters in the Tour de Suisse. The stage race of eight stages started yesterday with a time trial in which Stefan Küng was too strong for Remco Evenepoel and Van Aert.

The Swiss Küng keeps his leader's jersey. Van Aert comes a little closer due to the bonus seconds. He concedes six seconds in the general classification to Küng, one count more than Evenepoel.

Van Aert leaves the Tour at the birth of a child

It is by no means certain whether Wout van Aert will finish the Tour de France this year. The Belgian, who won three stages in the last two editions and took home the green jersey last year, hopes to become a father for the second time in the summer.

The due date is a few days after the last stage of the Tour. But if the baby comes earlier, Van Aert will not hesitate for a moment: "I take into account that I can go home at any time in the Tour. I absolutely do not want to miss the birth of our baby," he said this morning before the start of the second stage in the Tour of Switzerland against the Belgian newspaper HLN .

In the hilly stage over 173 kilometers, a leading group of two riders immediately formed. The Swiss veteran Michael Schär and the young Canadian Nick Zukowsky started a hopeless mission, because the peloton never gave them more than a four-minute margin.

Mass crash

With 23 kilometers to go, the two were caught. Shortly before, a major crash occurred, involving half the peloton. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) and the Australian sprinter Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), among others, were on the asphalt.

Most of the fallen riders returned to the peloton, which sprinted for victory. Girmay timed his acceleration the best and had dozens of fans from Eritrea cheering with their flags and umbrellas.

Second win of the season

The 23-year-old Girmay had his breakthrough last year with a victory in Gent-Wevelgem and a stage win in the Giro d'Italia. On stage in Italy, he shot the champagne cork in his eye . That resulted in an injury that forced him to leave the Giro in an extremely unfortunate way.

After that, Girmay struggled with his form for a long time. He only managed to win a stage in February in the Tour of Valencia. In the spring he could not distinguish himself, partly due to a heavy crash in the Tour of Flanders.

That fall kept him off track for two months, but on Monday Girmay showed that he is completely ready for the Tour de France that starts on July 1.

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