GIRO Stage Winner Silvan Dillier Gets PEZ’d!
Giro Rider Interview: Rest day number three on the Giro d’Italia and Ed Hood caught up with stage 6 winner Silvan Dillier. Well known as a winter trackman, the BMC rider has turned his hand successfully to the road and now has a Grand Tour stage in his pocket.
The Giro’17 stage 6 win
If you’ve followed our coverage of the ‘Six Days’ over the years then that would probably be the first place you picked up on the name, Silvan Dillier winner of Stage 6 in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Silvan partnered ‘our’ Franco Marvulli to second in the Berlin Six Day in 2012 – that was when we first got to know the quiet, laid back man from Baden in Switzerland.
The ‘Gent 6’ with Leif Lampater
But his career started well before that:
2006: Swiss Novice Road Race Champion.
2007: a stage in the Junior Peace Race.
2008: Swiss Junior Time Trial and Omnium Champion
2009: Swiss U23 Road Race Champion
2010: with Chambery Cyclisme Foundation – Swiss U23 TT Champion
2011: with Team Vorarlberg – Swiss U23 TT, Elite Omnium and Madison Champion. European U23 Madison Champion.
2012: with EKZ racing Team – apart from that runner-up spot with Franco in Berlin there was a Swiss National Championship in the U23 TT; European U23 Pursuit and Madison Champion and most importantly for his road career – a stage in the Tour de L’Avenir.
2013: with the BMC Development Team – the GC in the prestigious Tour of Normandie and then, moving up to stagiaire with BMC a stage in the Tour of Alberta.
2014: with the Elite BMC team – top 10 in the Hamburg World Tour race, podiums in the Gent and Zurich Six Days and a World Championship in the TTT.
2015: with BMC – Swiss National TT Champion, a stage in the Arctic Race and another World Title in the TTT.
2016: with BMC – fourth in the Dubai Tour and a ride in the Vuelta.
2017: with BMC – top 20 in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, second in Dwars door West Vlaanderen and eighth in Flèche Brabançonne – and Stage Six in the Giro D’Italia.
It was a close, hard sprint win over Jasper Stuyven
Silvan spoke to us the day after the Stage 10 time trial. . .
PEZ: Congratulations on a great result in winning Stage Six, Silvan – did you believe the move would ‘stick’ when you went away?
Silvan Dillier: Actually, that stage was one I had picked out beforehand as a day where it was possible for the break to go all the way. At the end we had to work very hard to stay away but there was good collaboration in the breakaway and we held out.
PEZ: Big Jasper Stuyven is no slouch in a sprint.
Yes, he’s fast but it was an uphill sprint and in that situation I was pretty confident. But to beat a rider of his quality gives me a lot of confidence for the future.
PEZ: Has your win gained you more respect in the peloton?
Yeah, for sure. I get a little more space now and it’s a little easier to move up – there’s definitely more respect.
PEZ: Your win was a good tonic for the team with Rohan Dennis being forced out.
His crash was a big blow for us. His ambition was to see how far he good go in the GC; that was a big goal for him and it was a huge disappointment for him and the whole team when he had to quit the race.
A happy BMC team
PEZ: Tejay van Garderen is ‘your man’ now.
Yes, but today’s time trial didn’t go his way today – there’s a long way to go in this Giro though and there’s still time to change objectives and go for stage wins.
Climbing in the Flèche Wallonne
PEZ: You’ve ridden the Giro and Vuelta, how do they compare?
They’re both tough races especially the Vuelta having all those mountain top finishes but the Giro stages are generally longer, over 200 kilometres – that’s tough.
PEZ: How did you prepare for the Giro?
I didn’t really a lot of time to prepare specifically because I did all the Classics – this is pretty much my first stage race of the year except for Dubai. This year I was targeting the Classics and I came out of them in good shape which has served me well here in Italy.
Giro d’Italia stage 1 crash
PEZ: Those stages in Sicily looked dangerous with the tifosi spilling out into the road.
Some of the roads were pretty small and when you pass through the little towns the roads are very narrow – you have to be attentive, you can’t switch off for a second, you have to concentrate 100% of the time.
PEZ: How was the Etna stage?
It’s pretty special to race up an active volcano, that’s for sure – but like all the mountains it’s a hard climb.
PEZ: Blockhaus looked pretty tough.
Blockhaus is a tough climb – but the rest of that stage whilst it was fast, it was controlled. I had no ambitions up there and just found my own rhythm to finish with a group.
PEZ: And you still live in Switzerland – no move to Girona or Tuscany?
Yes, I still live in Switzerland; the weather in November and December is pretty stable and I can train on the road without problems. It’s in January and February when the snows come and by then I’m either at training camp or racing.
Second to Jos Van Emden in the Dwars door West Vlaanderen
PEZ: Has the Swiss media acknowledged your stage win?
Yes, there’s been a good reaction with a lot of interviews – it’s nice to get the attention and have them take an interest in my life.
PEZ: How did you pace the time trial, today?
I was going hard but not full on, it wasn’t an objective for me; the last time trial I rode was in the Vuelta, last year – I’ve only been on my TT bike about twice since then. It was a pretty hard percorso with that climb in the middle and then uphill to the finish – it was hard to settle into a rhythm. As well as the elevation to the line there was the wind to contend with so it was pretty difficult.
‘Gent 6’ with Claudio Imhof
PEZ: Do you still have track ambitions?
No, the Rio Olympics, where I rode in the Swiss team pursuit squad were my last track competition for the foreseeable future – the next few years I just want to focus on my road career for the next few seasons.
PEZ: That last week of the Giro looks pretty ‘spikey.’
Yeah, the race has been hard so far but that last week is going to be even harder – there are some tough climbs to come. . .
# PEZ wishes Sylvain well for those last stages; we hope to speak to him again on the third rest day. #
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.