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BMC’s Silvan Dillier Talks Route Du Sud Win!
Rider Interview: Giro d'Italia stage winner Silvan Dillier has taken his winning ways a step further with the overall victory in the Route du Sud in France last weekend. Ed Hood has the exclusive chat from the multi-talented Swiss rider.

Terme Luigiane - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Silvan DILLIER (Swiss / BMC Racing Team) - Jasper STUYVEN (Belgium / Team Trek Segafredo) pictured during team stage 6 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from Reggio Calabria - Terme Luigiane, 207.00 km -  photo Claudio Minardi/BiciSport/Cor Vos © 2017

It’s just a week or two since we spoke to BMC’s Silvan Dillier, shortly after he’d won a Giro stage ahead of talented Belgian, Jasper Stuyven. Well, the Swiss flyer has only gone and done it again; winning the notoriously tough Route du Sud stage race in France which this year included the mighty Tourmalet.

We first knew Silvan as a time trial and track rider, winning national junior and U23 titles in the time trial, omnium and madison before graduating to win the European U23 madison in 2011. He defended that title a year later and added the European U23 individual pursuit title. That same year there was a Tour de L’Avenir stage win and a podium in the Gent Six Day partnering the legend that was ‘Big Bob’ Bartko.

In 2013 he took the Tour of Normandie overall and as a BMC stagiaire with the ‘big guys’ won a stage in the Tour of Alberta. One year later he was World TTT champion in Ponferrada with Oss, Quinziato & Co.
Season 2015 saw that title defended in the United States, the National Elite TT title, a stage in the Arctic Tour and a Giro ride.

Rio de Janeiro - Brasil - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Men’s Team Pursuit - 12/08/2016 - Oliver Beer - Silvan Dillier - Thery Schir - Cyrille Thiery  (Suisse)  pictured during track day-2 - Olympic Games 2016 in Rio - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

Last year saw him ride his first Vuelta; whilst the start of season 2017 had him second in Dwars door West-Vlaanderen and eighth in the Brabantse Pijl prior to his brilliant Stage Six win in the Giro.
The man is nothing if not versatile – from the starting gate on the velodrome to the top of the Tourmalet is a long way.

We caught up with Silvan the day after his fine win.

PEZ: Nice ride, sir!
Silvan Dillier:
Yeah, really nice – I never would have expected it, not with 4,700 meters of climbing during the ‘Queen’ stage.

PEZ: And the Giro finished up well for BMC?
Yes, whilst we didn’t get the GC results we expected with Rohan Dennis and Tejay but we had my stage win and then Tejay won a stage too so it was successful Giro for BMC, yes.

Ponferrada - Spain  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Silvan Dillier (Team BMC Racing Team) pictured during  Championnats du Monde UCI CLM par équipe / UCI TTT World Championships (Men Elite)  WC - Wereldkampioenschap - photo Davy Rietbergen/Dion Kerckhoffs/Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2014

PEZ: How did you recover from the Giro, Silvan?
I spent time at home with friends and family, we had barbecues and I didn’t train too much.
If you’re not totally empty out of the Giro then your shape is good after you’ve had a rest – I think I got it absolutely right.

PEZ: You started the Route du Sud well with second place on Stage One.
I went in the break on Stage One; there were just three of us so it was hard work and in the second half of the stage there some quite hard climbs. Some other riders came across to us but I managed to hang in and got second place – and I picked up bonus seconds along the way.

PEZ: Stage Two was for the sprinters with Viviani winning.
That was a good stage for me, it let me recover a bit – bunch sprints aren’t my speciality!

Ichtegem - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Lasse Norman HANSEN (Danmark / Team Aqua Blue Sport) - Silvan DILLIER (Swiss / BMC Racing Team)   pictured during Le Dwars door West Vlaanderen 2017 - Elite Men -  in Ichtegem, Belgium - photo Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2017

PEZ: Stage Three was the monster.
Yes, 4,700 meters of climbing, a really, really tough day. I just put myself in time trial mode on each of the climbs; at the end I had the lead but just by one second!

PEZ: Tell us about the Tourmalet.
I only knew it by reputation; it’s really long – 17 kilometers with some steep sections in there.
I just rode at my own pace, found my own rhythm – it was a great experience to race up it but it’s a very difficult climb.

PEZ: Stage Four and you had to defend. . .
After Stage Three I was pretty empty but I had the team around me to look after me. A big break got away and Sky chased very hard to try and get it back for a sprint for Viviani so it wasn’t such an easy day. I had to go really deep in the finale.

Champagne - Switserland - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Silvan Dillier (Suisse / BMC Racing Team)  pictured during stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse 2016 from Rheinfelden to  Champagne (193 km) - photo Miwa IIjima/Cor Vos © 2016

PEZ: It must have been a great experience to have someone like Sammy Sanchez working for you?
He’s a really big champion, he has so much experience and is very good at motivating you – a nice word from him at just the right time is such a boost to your morale. He always stays calm; you know that if you follow him then everything will be OK.

PEZ: When did you begin to believe you could win overall?
When we had three minutes lead on the Tourmalet I began to think; ‘I can win this,’ but I went into that last stage with just one second of a lead so I knew it wasn’t going to be over until I crossed the finish line. I was really focussed in the finale but knew that I was ahead of all my rivals on the road.

Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Silvan Dillier (Suisse / BMC Racing Team) pictured during Flèche Wallonne 2016 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2016

PEZ: What was your toughest moment?
The last 500 meters of Stage Three I was completely in the red, pedaling with my whole body!

PEZ: This was your first stage race since you won the Tour of Normandie in 2013, how do the races compare?
In Normandie there’s not really a lot of climbing; that race is about bonus seconds, sprints, echelons and coping with bad weather. The Route du Sud is mostly about climbing.

PEZ: And you won the mountains and points jerseys – a nice pay day?
Yeah! I was busy collecting sprint points and mountains points when I was in the breakaway.

Maurepas - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team)  pictured during  Paris - Nice 2015 prologue ITT - time trial induvidual in Maurepas, France - photo Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos © 2015

PEZ: The Suisse Champs next, you’ve won the U23 road and the Junior, U23 and Elite time trial championships in the past.
Yes, but I go in with no pressure, I’ve had great success these last few weeks, my shape is very good but I feel no pressure to perform in either race.

PEZ: And the rest of the season?
I haven’t sat down with the team and sorted that out yet – but we’ll be doing that soon, no doubt.

Route du Sud stage 3:







It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he's covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself - many years and kilograms ago - and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.

 

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