Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was not the favorite team for Gent-Wevelgem, nor was Cube the most celebrated bike brand at the Belgian classic. Further, no Eritrean rider had ever won Gent-Wevelgem nor any other major classic.
Biniam Girmay put his team, his bike, and his country front and center Sunday when he blasted a long sprint to victory at the end of the 257km race.
As he was mobbed by the media afterward, the question from the Belgian press kept coming: Would he stay for the Tour of Flanders?
“I’ve been here for a long time, for three months,” Girmay said, clearly unswayed by the pressure. “I miss my wife and my daughter. I have to go back home.”
Here is a detailed look at his Cube Litening C:68X just after the finish.
Chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more of this bike when Girmay returns to racing at the Giro d’Italy in May.
Biniam Girmay jettisoned one bottle and then the other in the final kilometers to save every last bit of weight. He positioned himself perfectly at the back of the four-man group, refusing to give in to the pressure to go too early as the chase group closed on the leaders.
Name stickers with flags are common on pro bikes. The Eritrean flag? Not so much.
Cube’s ICR Aero Cockpit System, like many integrated cockpits on pro bikes, features internal routing. Girmay has a 130mm stem with a 40cm bar, an option that Cube doesn’t sell on consumer bikes. (Consumer bikes get progressively wider bars as the stem length increases. The longest stem option is 120 for a 44 bar, and the narrowest bar is a 40 with a 90mm stem.)
Thanks, Cube, for labeling your products, because I forgot my measuring tape.
The IRC cockpit looks to have sprinter-friendly rigidity with its massively wide stem.
The German Cube brands sells its top Litening C:68X with the new Shimano Dura-Ace 9250 for €7,399, or about $8,100.
Girmay raced on Continental’s latest 28mm tubeless tires, which is a departure from how Cube sells the bike (with Schwalbe tires). His wheels are Newmen Advanced SL R.42 carbon tubeless models, a brand Cube specs on some of its bikes.
Girmay used wax on his chain for maximum efficiency.
Girmay on the gravel ‘Plugstreets‘ of Gent-Wevelgem.
The 9150 power meter features a rechargeable battery, which is accessible behind the plastic cover.
When fully cross-chained, there isn’t any slack in Girmay’s drivetrain! The CeramicSpeed OSPW System costs a cool $529, and reduces a small amount of drivetrain friction by reducing chain articulation.
Cube has its own direct mount for the 9250 derailleur.
Much like the sprinter-friendly stem, the Litening has a sprinter-friendly bottom bracket area, too, and the big cross section probably doesn’t hurt aerodynamics, either.
175mm cranks on Girmay’s 56cm frame.
Like the tires, the Prologo saddle is a departure from Cube’s stock offering.
A team member had written Girmay’s nickname — “Bini” — on his number plate. At the next Gent-Wevelgem, that number plate will have a different numeral on it.
Girmay in flight up the Kemmelberg.