Biniam Girmay made history as the first African cyclist to win a one-day classic as he triumphed in the Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
“It’s unbelievable, amazing. I did not expect this,” said the Eritrean, 21.
“We just changed my plan a few days ago on Friday. We just came for a good result. This race is amazing, unbelievable.”
Girmay was part of a four-rider breakaway in the last 30km and sprinted to victory with 250m to go.
“This changes a lot in the future, especially for all African riders,” Intermarche-Wanty Gobert rider Girmay added.
Jumbo-Visma’s Christophe Laporte tried to chase him down but the Frenchman was beaten on the line.
The 248.8km Gent-Wevelgem, which includes a cobbled section, is often seen as a warm-up for Belgium’s biggest race – next week’s the Tour of Flanders – which is the second Monument classic of the season.
“I suffered on the cobbles, it’s not exactly comfortable,” said Girmay on what was his first race on cobbles.
“When it came to the sprint I knew the others were strong, but I felt confident.”
Girmay is not scheduled to take part in Flanders.