Irizar latest Spaniard to join RadioShack

Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was in a break.

Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was in a break. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Basque rider Markel Irizar confirmed that he will join Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team in 2010, the Spanish wire service EFE reported Saturday. He previously refused to comment on his links with the team.

The 29-year-old raced the past six seasons since he began his professional career with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team. His sole victory was a win in the mountains classification of the 2009 Tour Down Under.

He will join fellow Spaniards Haimar Zubeldia and Jose Luis Rubiera on the nascent squad.

Irizar has a particular bond with Armstrong, as both riders have survived testicular cancer. Irizar, still a junior when Armstrong was diagnosed with the disease, wrote the American a letter wishing him a speedy recovery. Armstrong went on to enjoy a highly successful career which included seven Tour de France victory.

Even in the height of his fame, when Irizar himself contracted testicular cancer, Armstrong remembered the letter and returned the favour.

Now the pair will ride side by side on the new team, to be headed by Johan Bruyneel. Irizar is contracted with the team for two years with an option to extend for two more.

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