One of the strongest and most reliable domestiques in cycling, Xabier Zandio has devoted a career to helping his team-mates achieve success. With 12 years as a pro already in his legs, the Spaniard is an experienced hand, especially in stage races, and he’s happy to pass on that knowledge to the next generation of riders.
A winner in his own right at the Vuelta a Burgos in 2008, Zandio is most at home when the terrain begins to rise upwards, making him a valuable asset to any Grand Tour team. With three such call-ups in his first two seasons with Team Sky, he will again look to play a valuable role in 2013.
Q & A
Who inspired you to start cycling?It was a neighbour who was always out on his bike. When I was 13 my mother finally let me join him.
First road bike:My brother Inaki used to play pelota professionally and he bought me a bike with his first salary.
Childhood heroes:I don't have many heroes but Pedro Delgado inspired me when won the Tour de France.
What do you love most about cycling?It's my hobby and it's my passion so I feel incredibly lucky to be a cyclist.
Career highlight:I don't win often so my Tour of Burgos triumph was a really special moment for me.
Favourite race:The Tour de France is the biggest and the most beautiful race. I love it, but at the same time it is incredibly stressful and a very hard race.
What has cycling taught you?How to organise my life.
Previous teams:2001-2010 Caisse d'Epargne (formerly iBanesto.com, Illes Balears-Banesto and Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne)
Main interests away from cycling:I like to spend time with family and friends. I also like other types of sports such as motocross and skiing.
If you weren't a rider, what would you be?I'd be on the dole (laughs)!
Favourite band:Spanish pop, but in general I like everything.
Volta a Portugal - 1st stage one (TTT)
Tour de France - 2nd stage 16, 4th stage 18; Clasica Ciclista a los Puertos - 1st
Vuelta a la Rioja - 3rd stage three; Vuelta a España - 2nd stage 1 (TTT)
Vuelta a Burgos - 1st overall, 3rd stage one; Vuelta a España - 3rd stage one (TTT)
Tour de Romandie - 2nd stage 3 (TTT)