Irizar: I knew early on that I wasn't going to be a winner

Trek-Segafredo's Markel Irizar will retire at the end of this season following a 16-year career in which he has dedicated his talents to helping some of the sport’s biggest names achieve their dreams. Professional cycling is made up of leaders and helpers, and Irizar told Cyclingnews that he realised early on in his career that he would not belong to the former. Irizar has two victories on his palmarès: a stage of the 2010 Tour du Poitou-Charentes and the overall title at the 2011 Vuelta a Andalucía. However, he attributes his long career to making the early decision to sacrifice his own ambitions and become a domestique. "I think you understand that if you're not a big talent then you are not going to be a 'killer'," Irizar told Cyclingnews.ADVERTISEMENT "There are some things that you should do if you want to survive. I understood from the very beginning that I was not going to be a winner, so I was thinking about how a leader would like to be treated and working for them. I was trying to do my best and trying to help someone to give 100 per cent. I was lucky to be close to some big leaders and, thanks to having those big leaders, I could have a long career. "I've won only two races, and it's not easy to survive in this world for 16 years," he said. "But it's thanks to a number of people that I got the opportunity to do this." Irizar's move in 2010 to RadioShack – which would later become Trek-Segafredo – eventually linked him up with two of his strongest leaders, Fabian Cancellara and Alberto Contador. Cancellara joined a year later and, bit by bit, Irizar worked his way into the Swiss man's Classics team. In 2013, Irizar helped Cancellara to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix double, and was there again when Cancellara won Flanders the following year. Coming back from cancer
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