Sunday, July 22, 2012

The siblings Izagirre

Gorka and Ion Izagirre are two of a kind. Or so one would think anyway. They're brothers, 24 and 23 respectively, they both ride for Euskaltel, they've both got a pair of wins to their names, and they look similar. Alain Laiseka in Deia asked the brothers, two of Euskaltel's most valuable commodities, to describe one another, and found out they're not that similar after all.

Here's a transcript of what they said of each other:

Ion's take on Gorka:
He's negative. He always sees the glass half empty. He almost always blames himself for everything. He easily gets demoralized even without a reason. I try to encourage him, to make him a little less negative. When he told me everything was going awry (after the team's four abandonments in the Tour), I told him that wasn't the case and that he was in excellent shape.

Everything happens because he's so hard on himself. It's like he isn't allowed to fail. He sets himself very lofty targets, and when he doesn't reach them he gets depressed and blames himself. I don't know many athletes as disciplined as he is. He's very methodical with his preparation, his diet, rest. He pays a lot of attention to detail. (Gorka's famous for bringing his own food to the family's dinner on Christmas Eve and New Years).

He's a rider who reads the races well. He's courageous and brave, good on all terrain but without that one big strength, except for going downhill well. He's a complete rider, who can chase stage-wins in GTs or win one-day races. He's good at everything. As a person he's a guy of extremes. When all's black he needs support, but when things are going well you don't have to say anything. He goes alone. And flies. 

Gorka's take on Ion:
He's very relaxed. He's got his own ideas, his own way of thinking and doesn't really care what goes on around him. I'd say he's a simple guy - not complicated at least. He lives happily in his own world. When he was younger, he was always annoying. And I quickly got fired up. I was warm blooded. Ion says he's more alive. That may be, but when in a race I'm sure he's very much alive. He's got a very relaxed way of riding and reads everything that happens very well. 

While riders like Sagan and others have ridden the Worlds since they were juniors, Ion's evolved gradually to reach a very high level. He's 23, and he'll go far, very far. Now he's showing it, but I always saw the small things that made me imagine how good he could become. 

A few years ago, when he was to join Orbea, he went to Ireland for three months as an Erasmus student. He came back in January fat, very fat. He was eight kilos overweight. 

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