Basque cyclist Markel Irizar has not had an easy life. When he was 18, he tragically lost his dad. At age 22 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, but it never slowed him down. With life seemingly against him, Markel did the opposite: he developed a lust for life that radiates wherever he goes. Using the unshakeable support of family and friends, he returned to the sport he loves, eventually signing a pro contract with Euskaltel-Euskadi (2004-2009) before joining RadioShack in 2010. Today he is cancer free.
With few aspirations for himself, he is the ultimate teammate, working selflessly for others. He is positive, always smiling and exuding gratefulness in everything he does. He heaps praise on his family at home, a wife and three sons, who, he knows, make huge sacrifices so that he can pursue his passion.
Markel is strong in the climbs and time trial, plus shines in the Classics, making him a cyclist that can do a little of everything for the team. Markel pulled off his biggest victory in 2011: with a motivated team behind him, he won the five-day Ruta del Sol in his home country, a gracious return to an amiable teammate who gives his all, every day, for the team.