When professional cyclist Markel Irizar was diagnosed with testicular cancer back in 2002, it can be assumed that he felt a unique bond with Lance Armstrong. The two exchanged letters throughout treatment.
In 2010, Irizar left Euskaltel-Euskadi and became part of Team RadioShack. This appears to have been a successful partnership because Irizar has only continued to grow as a rider and further prove he has beaten cancer. It was fellow Basque rider Haimar Zubeldia who advised to give the always-smiling and never complaining Irizar a contract.
Markel is the perfect teammate, always selflessly ready to work for the others. That’s why his teammates liked to work for him when he wore the leader’s jersey in the 2011 Tour of Andalucía. Markel’s overall victory in that race was based on his second place in the opening Time Trial. One year earlier, he also won a 22K Time Trial in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and finished 5th in the Grand Prix des Nations.