Disqualified Tour of Turkey winner Ivaïlo Gabrovski gets a two-year suspension for EPO
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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Disqualified Tour of Turkey winner Ivaïlo Gabrovski gets a two-year suspension for EPO

by Shane Stokes at 8:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Presidential Tour of Turkey
 
Astana celebrating Alexandr Dyachenko’s victory in race

Ivailo GabrovskiTwo and a half months after it was announced that Ivailo Gabrovski had tested positive for EPO, the now-disqualified Tour of Turkey winner has been handed a lengthy ban from the sport.

The Bulgarian rider has been given a two year suspension by his national federation, according to Biciciclismo, completing a process which began when he gave a urine sample on April 24th, the day he dominated the mountainous stage thee to the summit of Elmali.

Gabrovski was riding the 2.HC event with the small Konya Torku Seker Spor team, and eyebrows were raised when the 34 year old from Sofia showed he was comfortably stronger than those from much bigger teams. He finished well over a minute clear of the next rider on that summit finish, then was able to match every attack on his jersey in the days which followed.

There was a general scepticism of his performances at the race, with one team manager telling VeloNation off record that he didn’t consider Gabrovski’s riding to be credible. This was compounded by issues in his past. In 2003 he was stopped from racing the 3 Days of West Flanders because his haematocrit was over the 50% limit. Two years later, the same happened again at the world championships in Madrid, when a UCI blood test threw up anomalies.

Gabrovski was put on the defensive at the race when he was asked about those doubts. “This is not a surprise. This is a lot of work…not only this year or last year. I’ve been for more than 15 years a professional rider,” he insisted in a video interview, which can be seen here.

“I started with the road bicycle at eight years of age and all my life, I do the same thing. I ride my bike. I have no life like other guys and girls, I only have the bike. This is all I have.

“So cycling is my life. What happens here now is a lot of work and a lot of mind that I put in this race. Also, lots of wish, lots of courage to win the race. Luck too. You always need luck.”

That luck ran out when the April 24th test detected the presence of synthetic EPO. The UCI subsequently confirmed to VeloNation last month that Gabrovski’s B sample was also positive. This confirmation put the ball in the Bulgarian federation’s court, and it has responded by handing down a ban.

Astana’s Alexandr Dyachenko finished one minute 33 seconds back and is now promoted to race winner, the biggest result of his career. Danail Andonov Petrov (Caja Rural) moves up to second, while Adrian Palomares (Andalucia - Caja Granada) improves to third.

“I'm very happy with Dyachenko’s victory as not only is it his first victory in a stage race, but it was a Hors catégorie stage race,” Astana directeur sportif Alexandr Shefer told VeloNation.

“Dyachenko should be extremely proud as he really deserved this victory after a fantastic performance throughout the Tour of Turkey.”

The UCI is yet to comment on the ban. In the past, its president Pat McQuaid said that he wanted to see a doubling of the two year ban to four in the case of serious doping offences. EPO use falls into that category.

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