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"It's part of the signing. I also believe they signed me for my year, my qualities, and my future. That's what I want to think." 

Photo: Movistar Team




02.11.2016 @ 16:41 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Ion Izagirre, speaking at Bahrain-Merida’s first team camp, says he didn’t plan to transfer away from Movistar before his contract ran out, but says he just couldn’t turn down the newly formed team when they came knocking.


"I never planned to change – I had one year left – but Bahrain got in touch saying they were interested, they explained their new project, I liked the look of it, and they showed belief in me," Izagirre told Cyclingnews.


Many have criticized the new team, saying most of their riders were signed for their WorldTour points rather than the quality of rider. Its no secret Bahrain could really use Izagirre’s points, but the 2015 Tour de Pologne winner says he was also signed for his class.


"It's part of the signing. I also believe they signed me for my year, my qualities, and my future. That's what I want to think. Aside from that, I know that my points were important, because this year I had a fair amount, and everything came together in one package, let's say."


The Basque rider says he wouldn’t have left the team to go to Bahrain if Movistar hadn’t given him permission, as he didn’t want the team to fall out with him.


"It was clear to me that, having another year, I didn't want it to end badly," he says. "If the team said 'you're not going', I wouldn't have gone'. Because it would have only ended badly. We spoke about it – Movistar, Bahrain, my manager – and came to an agreement, and they let me come. I appreciate that."


Izagirre is a rare rider, a true stage race winner who doesn’t also target Grand Tour GCs. Katusha’s Simon Spilak is the only other who comes to mind. 


"Some people think there's only the Giro, Tour, or Vuelta – it's like nothing else exists," Izaguirre tells Cyclingnews. "I think one-week races are still really tough to win. It's a different type of racing, but it's where I feel confident, and I know that I can do them well - making differences in the time trial - and they motivate me."




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