Markel’s custom Madone

In honor of his 16-year career, Trek presented Markel Irizar with a special Madone.

For his final race, the Clásica San Sebastián, Markel Irizar was presented a custom Madone in honor of his 16 years as a professional. Irizar made a career as a domestique, a rare rider who gave everything for his teammates and never looked for his own glory.  Often labeled “Radio-Basque” for his gift of gab, he was well-liked and respected amongst his peers.

Markel Irizar and General Manager Luca Guercilena pose with the custom Madone before competing in his last race as a Pro-cyclist.

Everything is special on this bike. First is the Basque flag; we are only 1 million people and we have our own language - the oldest language in Europe. This makes it special and why we are such a proud people.

The nicest are all the names of everyone who has been important in my life, beginning from my parents, grandparents, my wife my kids, my closest friends, people who have helped me in cycling like Josu (Larrazabal) my coach, and Luca (Guercilena). For me this is very special – to have them all on my bike is so emotional for me and for them, it was really nice too.

There is written Bizipoz, the name of my café and also my nickname, which means happiness of life. It’s like a dream. I have always wanted to have a special bike. I would like to thank Trek Bikes because they made my day yesterday – when I sent a message to them, I was crying, I couldn’t stop crying. I am really proud to be part of this team for the last 10 years and I will be proud for the rest of my life. It’s been unbelievable.

Markel Irizar and Giulio Ciccone training a day before Clásica San Sebastián.

Also listed on the bike are all the teams I have been part of, from Euskaltel–Euskadi, RadioShack, Leopard to Trek-Segafredo.

The wheels say ‘When you hear RadioBasca, it’s time to ride’ and around the wheel is written the typical yodel we used to do many centuries ago to communicate through the different valleys, something that I have always done for birthdays or when we win. It’s unbelievable; this is not just a custom bike, they made it with love and I really appreciate this.

Markel and Giulio check out the Bontrager custom wheels.

Markel Irizar in the breakaway during Clásica San Sebastián.

The opportunity to say goodbye in San Sebastián is difficult to explain with words. You need to feel how I am feeling to understand. All this was possible because of the team, so really thank you, for me, it has been unbelievable.

I will ride this bike often, but only with the good weather!