Silvan Dillier's apprenticeship with the BMC Racing Team is going quite well. The 23-year-old Swiss espoirs road race champion has been riding with the BMC Development Team for most of 2013 but signed on as a stagiaire with the WorldTour program last month.
On Thursday, he won stage 2 of the UCI 2.1 Tour of Alberta after spending 75km in a two-man breakaway. Now he and BMC are talking about his future with the US-based division-one team.
“We are talking, and yeah, for sure this will be a good advantage for me to get into the world of the pros,” Dillier said after Thursday's stage. “If you can win something it's always good for your future. So you have always to take your chance and go for it.”
Dillier went for it after about 100km of high-paced racing, joining Jelly Belly's Serghei Tvetcov in a two-man move that held off race leader Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and the charging peloton that was itching for another bunch sprint.
“I think everybody was a little bit tired after all the attacks,” Dillier said. “So at first we had a big gap. We tried to save something for the final because we knew they wanted to have the bunch sprint again. Then, the last 30 kilometers were going to be really hard, so we tried to save something to go to the end.”
After building an ultimate gap of more than five-and-a-half minutes, the duo saved just enough to hold off the peloton by 16 seconds, allowing Dillier to outsprint Tevtcov and post a victory salute in front of a large, cheering crowd in Red Deer.
Dillier's win added to victories he's already scored for the BMC Development Team at the Tour de Normandie overall in March; the final stage of Triptyque Ardennais and Cham-Hagendorn in May; and at Flèche Ardennaise in June. He also placed third at the Tour of the Gila time trial in May and was second at the Grand Prix des Marbriers in August.
Dillier started his espoirs career at Chambéry Cyclisme in 2010 before moving to Voralberg in 2011, EKZ Racing in 2012 and the BMC development squad this season. He has twice won the Swiss U23 time trial championship and the U23 road race, and he was second in a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir last season.
BMC director Jackson Stewart said he had never met Dillier before this week in Canada, but he had heard good things about the young rider from development team director Rick Verbrugge.
“We knew he would have good potential,” Stewart said. “So I just wanted to leave it open and let him and some of our other guys ride for breaks. Today was the perfect day for a break. They got a tailwind there and got a good gap while the other teams were looking at each other.”
The escapees caught another lucky break when the field started splitting on one of the climbs leading to the finish in Red Deer, nullifying any organized chase and allowing them to take a two-minute advantage into the final three laps of the closing 4km circuits.
“So it really came together perfectly,” Stewart said, “The Jelly Belly guy worked well with him, and he was really strong in Utah. So we knew it was two really strong guys and it was just going to come down to the circuit if they could make it.
“It was a perfect day for us,” Stewart continued. “To get a stage win here with these types of finishes is perfect for us. Dillier is strong and Tvetcov is strong, so it was a potent combination.”
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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