Silvan Dillier: Mixing road and track in 2016
Last season was a great one for Silvan Dillier, the 25-year-old rider of BMC Racing Team: a pro since 2014, the young Swiss started and finished his first Grand Tour – the Giro d’Italia – where he even went on to the attack on a couple of occasions, and in June took his first pro victory, in the time trial race at the National Championships. From that moment on, Silvan’s season got better and better and he confirmed the potential many had noticed since he rode in the U23 ranks and won the Flèche Ardennaise or the Tour de Normandie in commanding fashion.
Just two months after that success at the Nationals, Silvan Dillier was one of the main protagonists in the last stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, going to the attack in Narvik and taking a superb win on a slight uphill finish in what proved to be a demanding race against some classy opposition. The results and form displayed granted him a place in BMC’s six-men squad for the team time trial race at the World Championships in Richmond, where the Swiss cyclist captured the gold medal, thus concluding the season on a high note.
Now, following a 2015 season which has panned out exactly as Silvan Dillier had hoped, he is ready for a even more demanding year, giving that next year will see him focus on Classics and stage races alike, but also on the track, with both the World Championships and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games on his schedule.
– Silvan, how was last season?
I’m really happy with 2015. I was the whole season on a high level, I was really strong from the beginning, rode a Grand Tour and an excellent second half of the year, and that’s satisfying. It was very important that I could complete a three-week race, as this experience was quintessential in improving my “engine”. The Giro d’Italia was a big challenge and I was very curious how I can manage and finish it. I was really surprised how good I came out of it, and this eventually weight a lot for the second half of the season.
– Which of the three wins you took in 2015 was the most special?
The World Champion title in the team time trial was pretty big, but personally the victory I got in the last stage of the Arctic Race of Norway was very important, because I proved that I can win a race by myself (ed. – besides the stage victory, Silvan finished second in the general classification and notched the best young rider jersey).
– Do you feel that now have a much clearer idea on which races suit you?
During my first two years with BMC, I did a couple of Classics, hilly and cobbled ones as well, and from all these I really love Milan-Sanremo and Amstel Gold Race. For this reason, in the future I’ll try to win those two events.
– Besides these, you had some impressive results on the track, taking silver in the team pursuit at the European Championships, on home turf.
Racing in Switzerland in front of the home crowd was unbelievable, and it will probably go down as one of the best moments of my career. The team was superb and really strong on that day, and to get the silver medal was amazing. We celebrated it together with the public as we’d have won the European title.
– This bodes well ahead of Rio. Can the team get a medal there, as well?
The main challenge will be to have four riders in top shape at that moment, and if we will manage that, I think we are going to be competitive and have a good shot at a medal.
– Do you think you can mix track and road next year, riding at a high level in both?
Yes, for sure. The only tricky part will be to have a good planning, so it will be important to work really close together: the coach from the track team, the coach from the road team and the BMC management. I already have the program for the first months of 2016 layed out: I will start my season a little bit later than I did in 2016, in February, at the Dubai Tour, then head back to the track for the World Championships in London, and afterwards I will target the Ardennes Classics.
– And what goals do you have on the road next season?
First of all, the Ardennes Classics, as I want to get a nice result there. Then, hopefully, I’ll do the Giro d’Italia again, followed by the Tour de Suisse. I’d like to win a stage in one of these races, or even in both. It would be really great.