Biniam Girmay — Milan San Remo

Few situations so perfectly demonstrate the idiom "calm before the storm" like the first Monument of cycling's World Tour calendar — Milan-San Remo. Romantic images of a sinuous peloton dancing along the Ligurian coast are vintage road cycling. Disguising the true depth of effort required to feature in the longest race of the year. The accelerando building to a frenetic crescendo — where a mole hill becomes a mountain — at the Poggio. Intermarché rider, Biniam Girmay — 12th in 2022 at his first attempt — has made this a target. We followed his race.

“If I'm the first guy down the Poggio I have to go full gas — 100% — and take full risks. If it's two or three guys, and if they go crazy, then I have to go crazy as well to follow. Because if you give them ten seconds then it's already done. It's not easy to come back after.” — Biniam Girmay.

"You feel it in the peloton. The nervousness comes — the fighting — and also from the DS guys. Already you feel it an hour or maybe an hour and a half before the Cipressa.”

"The team had a plan to drop in on the Cipressa and to still have two guys left to support me on the Poggio. Everyone did a great job, but there were some nervous parts in the Cipressa where I lost some guys and did some efforts myself. That then paid me back in the Poggio — feeling it in my legs"

The fight for position over the Poggio saw four riders go clear from a large bunch. Biniam arrived at the finish in a large group — thirty-two seconds after the winner, Matthieu van der Poel.

Words by Ross Lovell, Photos by Jojo Harper, Dan King