Pundits and former professionals have been full of praise for Eritrea's Biniam Girmay after his historic Gent-Wevelgem classic win.
The 21-year-old became the first Eritrean to win a World Tour race on Sunday.
Riding for Intermarch-Wanty Gobert, Girmay beat off competition from usual suspects in Jumbo Visma's Christophe Laporte and TotalEnergies' Dires Van Gestel.
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A perfect sprint finish and a masterful ride over the cobbles during the 248.8km race saw him take the win.
And pundits and professionals have been lining up to sing Girmay's praises after a "historical day" for a sport that has struggled with diversity.
Cycling commentator Rob Hatch praised Girmay's breakthrough as a watershed moment for a sport that has struggled for diversity.
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"The green, red and blue colours of the Eritrean national flag have been visible for years now at almost every single professional bike race on the planet," he said.
"During that time, the East African diaspora have waved those flags to cheer on attacking riders who have been strong in the mountains but have failed to produce too much end product on European roads. Now they have a winner. A special talent. A natural born superstar.
"It was in Europe’s cycling Mecca where he earned the African continent’s first World Championship medal after finishing second in the U23 road race last autumn, and where he beat the best in the world to glory at Gent-Wevelgem, blazing yet another trail as the first African to win a Cobbled Classic.
"Both were huge moments for cycling, which when compared to many other sports, has an embarrassingly poor relationship with people of colour, their representation and success."
Former Dutch cyclist Bobbie Traskel echoed Hatch's comments, and said that Girmay's win will encourage riders from Africa and Asia.
"I still have a smile on my face," said former Dutch cyclist Bobbie Traskel.
"I know that a lot of riders outside Europe and especially riders from Africa and Asia have difficulties finding their way in the European cycling culture and landscape. I experienced this myself when I rode for Champion System with a lot of Asian guys who experienced difficult times.
"I also know for sure that a lot of riders from Asia and Africa have found a lot of morale from Girmay’s victory. That’s what makes this historic. If you add this all together… it’s simply historic! I wish him and his following a lot of success and victories."
As for Girmay, he admitted himself that his side had no expectations of winning and that his team 'just came for a good result'.
And Brian Holm said the shock win was a welcome upset in an often-predictable sport.
"We are a bit old fashioned in professional cycling, and it’s not often we have someone from another team winning," he said.
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"It was something special, a day for the history books, a great day for Girmay and his team, and a great day for African cycling."
In a month or so, Girmay will return to his European base in San Marino before making his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia, where all eyes will be on the new superstar and whether he can spring a few more surprises in his fledgling career.
Going forward, cycling may cast a wider net outside the usual European suspects thanks to Girmay's groundbreaking win, and former Italian cyclist Ilenia Lazzaro encouraged the sport to do so.
'Talent is everywhere!' - Ilenia Lazzaro on Biniam Girmay victory
She said: "No matter where you are born, if you have someone who can give you the opportunity to show you are talented because talent is everywhere."
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