The popular Basque cyclist announces this will be his final season as a professional cyclist.
Markel Irizar has announced that the 2019 season will be his last as a professional cyclist. He will race the majority of the season until his home race, the Clásica San Sebastian in August, where he will hang up his wheels. The veteran rider has enjoyed 16 years in the pro peloton and has ridden for the team since 2012.
The Basque rider has established himself as one of the most likable riders and reliable domestiques throughout his career. During his time in the peloton, Markel has gained the nickname ‘Radio Basque’ due to his love of storytelling and his chatty nature on and off the bike.
Since turning pro in 2004, it’s safe to say that professional cycling has changed a great deal. During this time Markel has ridden for three different teams; initially turning pro with the Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi, for which he rode for five seasons. Next, he rode for the Radioshack team for two years before joining the Trek-sponsored Radioshack-Nissan team in 2012. He has stayed with this team, now in the guise of Trek-Segafredo, ever since.
At 39 years old, Markel is one of the most experienced riders in the peloton, and he can often be found pulling back a breakaway or looking after the team leaders. Markel has helped his teammates to many memorable wins including Fabian Cancellara’s Paris-Roubaix/Tour of Flanders double as well as Chris Horner’s overall victory at the Vuelta a España in 2013.
While Markel usually works in a selfless role for the good of his team, in 2011 he was able to take a remarkable victory in the General Classification of the 5-day Vuelta a Andalucía. He placed second in the prologue, and with a motivated team supporting him, Markel was able to take the lead and hold it until the final stage. He also took a victory at the 2010 Tour de Poitou Charentes in the competitive fourth stage time trial.