After celebrating victory at the 2012 Tour of Turkey, Ivaïlo Gabrovski declared himself available to join a ProTeam next year at the age of 35. Ten years ago, he spent the only season of his long career in a team at the highest international level when French outfit Jean Delatour was a Trade Team 1 in 2002.
“If I get a chance to join a ProTeam, of course I’ll go for it," Gabrovski told Cyclingnews in Istanbul. “I’m looking for the best contract. I’m open to any proposal. Right now, nobody came and talked to me about it. This is a great victory for [Turkish continental team] Konya Torku Seker Spor. I’m proud that my arrival into this team helped to grow it.
"This is my second win at the Tour of Turkey," Gabrovski said, referring to his previous appearance at the Presidential race in 2007. It was the last edition before the event moved up to the big league of cycling, with stars like Alessandro Petacchi and Andreas Klöden paving the way in 2008 for ProTeams to make the trip to Turkey. Nine of them lined up this year, but the overall winner is from the Continental level.
“My victory is not a surprise," Gabrovski said. “It’s the result of hard work. I’ve been a cyclist since I was eight years old. I’ve been a pro for 15 years. I don’t have a normal life like other guys or girls. Now I smile to the public because I share my victory with all Turkish people but I have a difficult life. I’m a serious guy. This is one of the biggest exploits of my cycling career.”
The victory might well be a turning point for the Bulgarian. Races ranked .HC by the UCI award crucial points for the sporting evaluation of the teams fighting for WorldTour status. To remain one of them, AG2R-La Mondiale and Lotto-Belisol have hired riders like Iranians Amir Zargari and Mehdi Sohrabi, as well as two European riders who had performed at .HC races in Asia: Russia’s Boris Shpilevsky and Slovenia’s Grega Gazvoda. That’s why Gabrovski’s future looks bright.