Mathieu van der Poel, Biniam Girmay to ride GP de Wallonie ahead of world championships
Girmay and Van der Poel add one more race day to their programs ahead of next week's road race in Wollongong.
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While most of the worlds road race contenders rode their final preparation races last weekend, Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Girmay are getting one more in before the big day.
Van der Poel and Girmay will be the headline acts at the one-day GP de Wallonie on Wednesday with both among the favorites for victory on the rolling course.
Girmay’s Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux teammates Taco van der Hoorn and Sven Erik Bystrom are also set to ride tomorrow and in Australia next week.
Van der Poel has had a limited number of race days since his early abandon at the Tour de France in July, racking up just three in the last month. The Dutchman quit the grand tour ahead of stage 11, citing fatigue following a busy spring that included the Giro d’Italia.
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His season start was disrupted by a lingering back problem that he picked up last year, but he has said that is now largely under control. He is expected to contest the mixed team relay in addition to the road race at the worlds.
Girmay is set to race in the elite field at the world championships next week after claiming a historic silver medal in the U23 men’s race in Flanders last year. He showed that he’s in good form with his third place at the GP Cycliste de Quebec, though he had to abandon the Montréal race due to stomach issues.
The one-day GP de Wallonie will be another opportunity to test his legs before the big day. However, it will mean a later arrival than many and a shorter amount of time to combat the jetlag.
Several of Girmay’s companions in the peloton in Canada last weekend opted to go straight to Australia from North America and avoid the return trip through Europe, with the extra travel that would include.
The GP de Wallonie is nearly 200 kilometers and will take place between the Belgian towns of Blegny and Namur.