In his first race wearing the Swiss national time trial skinsuit in 2016, Silvan Dillier crossed the line after stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia as the best placed BMC rider in tenth place. Teammate and compatriot Stefan Küng was in track for a top-ten result having passed through the intermediate time check one second down on eventual winner Tom Dumoulin only to come unstuck on a corner and lose 30 seconds.
"It was actually a good time trial for me with some corners, and some efforts sprinting out of the corners so this is actually what suits me quite well. I didn't really know where I would finish because it's actually the first time trial for me this year. So I'm pretty happy with tenth place," said Dillier who rode the 2015 Giro. "I was really excited when I put on my Swiss National Time Trial kit today for the first time with my white shoe covers. So I thought to myself even if I don't go very fast at least I'll look good!"
Dillier, who hadn't ridden a time trial since the 2015 Richmond Worlds when he finished in 30th place, added he expects the 40.5km stage 9 time trial to better suit his characteristics which he is looking forward to after his moral boosting ride
"The next time trial in the Chianti region could be a good one for me too so I'm looking forward to this one as well. The last one is completely uphill and doesn't suit me at all," added the 25-year-old
While Dillier was upbeat following his tenth place, Küng was left to reflect on could have been after his late crash as he explained.
"I felt really good since leaving the start block. I was really on, I really had it, feeling good, feeling powerful, and had good speed," said the 22-year-old who is also making his second appearance at the Giro.
"For me it's always the hardest phase with 5-3 kilometers to go, and there I was just getting back into the rhythm and then came the nasty right corner. It's hard to tell what happened. When you're racing on the edge it can be such a tiny thing and you're over the limit and I think that's what happened. By back wheel slipped, I crashed into the barriers and yeah, that's life!"
Küng added that while knew his chances of taking the maglia rosa disappeared as soon as he crashed, having shown his form and condition he is confident of pulling off a big result.
"I just rode but in your head you know already that you've lost and it's kind of hard to go to the finish," he explained. "I think I had it today and you don't get many chances to win at the Giro d'Italia but I take a lot of good things from it too. It was the first time since my illness that I really felt good. It gives me a lot of confidence and we've still got 20 stages to go and I'm going to give it my all in every one."
Sports director Max Sciandri added that team would look into Küng's crash and try and uncover what went wrong.
"Silvan did a good ride but the plan was always all in for Stefan. At the time split he was right on Dumoulin's heels and we're still trying to figure out exactly how he crashed. He didn't go into the corner any faster than anyone else, so we'll try and figure out if it was a mechanical problem or an error," Sciandri said.
"Stefan was prepared for the corner, he knew it was a right hand turn and a very narrow exit. We did what we could to get him back out there and when you look at the full results, he still managed to put in a respectable time. It's disappointing for Stefan and for the team. But that's cycling.
"Once we've gotten over today we can look towards the next stages and see what we can do."
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