Far from the top of the favorites list for the General Classification at Route du Sud, Silvan Dillier proved anything can happen when he secured the first stage race win of his career, crossing the line safely on stage 4 to take the overall win.
After battling to the line line on the queen stage in fifth place and inheriting the lead over Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) by one second, it came down to the relatively flat 154.8km stage 4 which was predicted to end in a sprint.
Dillier’s BMC Racing Team teammates kept him out of trouble throughout the stage as up ahead, nine riders went clear to form the day’s breakaway.
Their advantage was kept within two and a half minutes as the sprinters’ teams looked to make the most of the last stage win on offer.
The breakaway claimed the bonus seconds throughout the stage, helping to secure Dillier’s overall lead, and in the end only splits on the line or a top three finish from Carapaz would threaten Dillier’s win.
With 5km remaining, the breakaway was holding on to a 40-second advantage and three kilometers later, the peloton was chasing hard 20 seconds behind the group.
Tom Skully (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) claimed the win from the breakaway to upset the predicted bunch sprint while behind, Jempy Drucker sprinted to 11th place and Dillier finished in the peloton to secure the win.
After accumulating points during his two days in the breakaway, Dillier made it a clean sweep by also claiming the sprint and King of the Mountain jerseys.
The Winner’s Interview with Silvan Dillier:
Congratulations, Silvan! How does it feel to take your first stage win?
“It’s a fantastic feeling. Route du Sud was never a race I thought I would win with all of the climbs. Finally, I succeeded in doing it. The whole team did a really good job today. We controlled the whole stage with Team Sky. There were not too many dangerous guys in the breakaway because of the big time gaps so we let a really good group go. We could relax a little bit knowing that none of the guys in front were a threat. But, we still had to be focused for the finish on the circuit to make sure there were no splits.”
After winning a stage at the Giro d’Italia, 2017 is proving to be a breakout year for you. Do you agree?
“it has been a really nice start to the year with the Giro d’Italia stage win and now the overall win here. It would be nice to continue the rest of the year as I have started it. Winning never gets easier so I just have to continue working hard and progressing as I have been. If you stop progressing, then you can never keep winning.”
What do you hope to achieve in the rest of the year?
“The World Championships are a big goal for me. The time trial will suit me well as there is a climb and it will make the race pretty hard. All of my races in the second half of the year will lead up to this, but for sure I want to keep my good form at every race I do for the rest of the year.”
Quotes from the Finish Line
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director:
“With only a one-second advantage going into today’s stage, it was important for us to control the beginning of the race. When the breakaway went clear it was perfect for us as there was no one that could threaten the overall GC. From that moment, I knew we didn’t need to pull too hard as the sprinters’ teams would want to bring it back together and we saw that with Team Sky.”
“The guys did an amazing job to protect Silvan Dillier. They rode around him all day and on a circuit like that at the end, it could have been dangerous. One second is such a small margin and we didn’t want to lose the race on the last day. Everybody was working really hard to achieve our objective.”
“Not only did we win the General Classification but we also won the Mountains and Points Classification with Silvan so, it’s been a great race for him and for the team. We didn’t come into this race with the GC in mind but as we saw on the first stage if you don’t take opportunities you never know what might happen.”