Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeInterviewsSilvan Dillier - Winner of Le Tour de Normandie 2013

Silvan Dillier – Winner of Le Tour de Normandie 2013


As the Pros battle it out across Flanders, the young men who aspire to do the same in the future are locking horns in another famous name from the history of warfare – Normandy. Le Tour de Normandie is one of the premier events on the calendar for men on the way up – Viatcheslav Ekimov, Thor Hushovd and Samuel Dumoulin are among the riders who have won the race. This year’s winner was a man who’s already proved his worth on the track; 22 year-old Swiss rider Silvan Dillier of the BMC Development Team took the GC by a scant three seconds from 2011 winner, Alex Blain (France & Raleigh).

Silvan Dillier
Silvan takes the race lead at the Tour of Normandy.

Dillier showed early promise with a Swiss national title in the novice’s road race in 2006.

A year later he was winning stages in the Junior Peace race and Junior Tour du Pays de Vaud.

In 2008 he took national junior titles in the time trial and omnium – and won the Zürich UiV race (U23 Six Day series).

The following year he was national U23 road race champion and the following year national U23 time trial champion.

In 2011 the results began to cascade; national U23 omnium, time trial and madison champion, European U23 madison champion, le Trois Jours d’Aigle track event and second in the Zurich six day with Glenn O’Shea behind Marvulli/Keisse.

Silvan Dillier
Silvan is now a very experienced Six Day rider, regularly pairing with the best in the business, such as Franco Marvulli.

Last season saw him second in the Berlin Six Day and national U23 road race, win the U23 time trial title again as well as the European U23 pursuit title and a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir; not forgetting third in the Gent Six Day.

He was in the Swiss squad which took silver in the Mexico round of the World Cup in January of this year and then the build up for his road season began.

VeloVeritas spoke to Dillier the day after his Normandie triumph.

Silvan Dillier
Silvan’s biggest win.

Congratulations on Normandie – 7th in the prologue, a good start, did the parcours suit you?

“Yes, the parcours was quite technical – all the corners and the ups and down made the parcours really hard, so it was a good one for me.”

Silvan Dillier
Silvan rides to a solid placing in the Prologue.

Stage one – a sprint, how did it go for you?

“We tried to help our sprinter Ignazio Moser to go for a good result.

“In the end he went out a bit too early; but we have still some time to progress in developing the lead out for his sprints.”

Stage two, you were sixth – did you begin to think about the GC?

“I tried to focus on every stage itself.

“My objective was more on a stage win than to win the overall; maybe to wear the yellow jersey for one day would be great and finishing top ten.”

Stage three and Blain won, you were third – a good day then?

“It was the day where the classement got more structure – there were only 10 guys left for the overall win and I moved into third place overall.”

Silvan Dillier
Heading for third place, in the shelter of a teammate.

Stage four and you were 11th but took the lead from Blain by 7 seconds – did you think you could win overall?

“I felt really good in stage four.

“The finale was hard and I attacked Blain in the last lap; seven seconds aren’t so much but by then I was thinking about the overall win.

Stage five – Zabel won (is he as fast as his dad?) did you have any difficult moments?

“This stage was the hardest I’ve ever ridden so far.

“We were attacked by the entire peloton the whole day long.

“Even when the break was gone (only after 80km) and we controlled the race, they were attacking us.

“The finale loop was really hard; but I suffered until the end so I didn’t lost time.

“It’s hard to say if Zabel is as fast as his dad – but for sure he’s fast!”

Silvan Dillier
Silvan starts the last day in the yellow jersey, destined to take the overall victory.

Stage six and I believe it was a ‘bonus battle’ and Blain got close – tell us about it.

“I wasn’t afraid of the last stage, but I gave it a lot of respect.

“Blain is fast in the sprints and so he took back two seconds on me in the first bonification sprint.

“But he had still three seconds to go. I once lost a stage race by 5 seconds (Tour de Pays de Vaud, U19), so I knew it’s hard to win them.

“In the bunch sprint at the end there were some really fast sprinters and I knew it would be hard for him to finish top three for some more bonifications.”

Your biggest win?

“For sure it’s my biggest win.

“This is my first overall win of a tour and it’s not a stage race over three or four stages; I mean one week is quite a long time to go.”

How did you get into cycling?

“Since I was a child I participated in a cycling race in our village, just for fun.

“When I got older I began to go training with the cyclists of the region – and so I started cycling.”

Who were the riders you admired as a young cyclist?

“I hadn’t a big idol but I knew a bit about Roman Kreuziger.

“When I started cycling he was junior in a Swiss Team and he was really strong.”

How did you get the ride with BMC?

“Rik Verbrugghe spoke with me at the European U23 Championships, last year.

“I hadn’t a contract at that time and he was offering me a good option for the season 2013.”

Silvan Dillier
Silvan represented Switzerland at last year’s World Championships. Photo©Ed Hood

How does the team compare to your previous amateur squads, Team Voralberg and EKZ Racing?

“I mean the EKZ Racing Team is a really good one for a Swiss Elite Team, but BMC Development is like being in the Pro team!”

It must be cool to work with Rik Verbrugghe as DS?

“Yes it is fantastic, he applies no pressure – he’s cool and relaxed.

“With the huge experience he has it’s just perfect to work with him as a young rider.”

Is the goal to be with the BMC Pro Tour team for 2013?

“I would like to get a stagiaire place in the Pro Team this season.

“If I could sign with the team for 2014 it would be great!”

When do you rest? You ride World Cups and Six Days over the winter.

“I take some rest after the road season and between the track races.

“It’s not a break of one month; I prefer to take two breaks for one week.”

Silvan Dillier
Silvan Dillier & Robert Bartko exchange in a chase at the Gent Six Day.

That was a good ride by the Suisse team pursuit squad in the Mexico World Cup.

“It was fantastic, at first we couldn’t believe the great time we did (4:02).

“It’s taken us a long time to arrive at this level.”

If you go full pro it would be difficult to ride the Six Days, with the road season starting so early…

“It all depends on the race programme I have; but for sure it’s not easy.

“My main goal is the road so I will make my plans based around that.”

Silvan Dillier
Silvan is presented to the Zürich Six Day crowd by Urs Freuler.

What’s the programme for the next few months?

“I’ll have more stage races with BMC Development in the USA, Belgium, France, Italy . . .”

If you could only win one race – what would it be?

“It’s hard to say, I mean there are so many nice races, but the Olympics is something really special.

“I would choose this.”

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Dimitri De Fauw

It's easy to write an obituary when one of your heroes dies - probably more so if you don't know them well. There's just the legend, palmares, anecdotes and the sadness. But I knew Dimitri De Fauw, not well, but I worked at maybe half-a-dozen Six Day races where he was riding.

The Legend that is Danny Clark

With all this Six Day chat we thought it might be nice to re-run this interview we did with Danny Clark some six years ago - jingz! where does time go? We hope you enjoy it...

Zürich Four Days 2011 – Getting Ready

Monday passed in a trice - a motorway is motorway and a Formule 1 hotel is a Formule 1 hotel. Now it's 14:15pm on Tuesday and hard to imagine the building site I'm sitting in the midst of will be hosting the Zürich Four Days 2011 in a little over 24 hours. But it has to - first and foremost, the Sixes are a business proposition.

Bremen Six Day 2012 – Day Three

It's 23:11 and the 500 metre time trial has just finished here at the Bremen Six Day. We're awaiting the start of the 300 lap chase, and the singer has kicked off. He's currently butchering 'Sailing' - a cool song, not Rod's version, the original Sutherland Brothers version.

Jim Moore

Rest in peace, Jim Moore, the British ex-pro who emigrated to Canada in 1974 enjoyed a long and varied career, from amateur road and track man in the UK to ‘independent’ in France, representing GB in the 1964 Tour de l’Avenir, a ride in the Skol Six Day, and a successful pro career in the UK before crossing the Atlantic.

A Pictorial Look Back at the Berlin Six Day 2014

Watched by 75,000 spectators over the course of the event in the velodrome Landsberger Allee, Andreas Müller and Kenny de Ketele won the 103rd edition of the Berlin Six Day. On the last day and the last race they overtook the long-time leaders Leif Lampater and Jasper de Buyst with a race winning attack - exciting stuff. Third place went to Robert Bartko, which was his last time in Berlin at the Six with his young partner Theo Reinhardt.

At Random

Tour de Trossachs 2007

Tour de Trossachs 2007 Mile zero: 09.54, and Alastair McNicol of Kelso Wheelers is on the line. Off No.1 at 10:01, he's not going to miss his start. It's six degrees, there are just wisps of cloud in the sky and Scotland has never looked better. Ferns, conifers and beech, lime green to dark brown form the backdrop for the timekeepers; to the north, the hills of the Trossachs wait quietly for the onslaught.

Kyle Gordon – Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Champion

If you ask Italian riders which one race they'd want to win above all others, nine times out of 10; Milan-Sanremo; for Belgian guys it's De Ronde, 19 times out of 20, but that man Kyle Gordon is making his own dreams come true; a ride in the Commonwealth Games and now, the 'Blue Riband,' joining Billy Bilsland, Sandy Gilchrist, Graeme Obree and Jason Macintyre's names on the roll of honour as winners of the '25'  Champs and breaking through the magical 50 minute barrier in the process.

David Campbell Memorial Road Race 2013

On a typical Scottish spring afternoon of ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ Herbalife/Leisure Lakes’ talented 18 year-old English rider, Harry Tanfield fully justified the ‘Elite’ stamp on his license to win Kennoway Road Club’s David Campbell Memorial Race over 80 tough Fife miles around the Cults Hills. With 2013 results which include, 10th Heist Op Den Berg; 2nd Evergem Belzele and 8th Tourinne-Saint-Lambert Kermises in Belgium, Tanfield’s win would have come as no surprise if we’d done our homework.

Douglas Dewey – Aiming for The World Tour but Touring the World Instead

My eyes snap open to golden dappled rays silhouetting pine branches above - beneath me a pillow of twigs and earth, nearby a lake nestled between snowy peaks shimmers enticingly. My legs are in a tent, my body protruding out. I think I'm naked.

Hargroves Cycles sponsor Matrix Fitness-Prendas

In what has been a hugely progressive winter for the Matrix Fitness-Prendas team where new partners have seen the potential of the all female squad, Hargroves Cycles have become the latest addition to the team's list of sponsors.

Stefan Küng – BMC’s World Pursuit Champion

By our reckoning when Stefan Küng took bronze in the individual pursuit in 2013 it was Switzerland’s first pursuit medal since Robert Dill-Bundi’s pro silver some 30 years prior on his home Zürich track in 1983, but whilst that was as good as it got for the tall, precocious Swiss who never fully realised his potential, it was just the start for Küng. In Paris this year the young BMC rider from Wil became the first Swiss rider since the fabulously stylish Xavier Kurmann back in 1970 on the Leicester track in England to pull on the rainbow jersey of world individual pursuit champion.