Success on the Boards and Roads? No Problem for Silvan Dillier
BMC Racing Team’s Silvan Dillier is one of the big discoveries of last season. In his first professional season Dillier already bagged as a world champion in the UCI World TTT Championships with his teammates from the BMC Racing Team and achieved top results in plenty of other races. Not only are his results on the road impressive for a young blood but his results on the track place him among the absolute world best. One day before the beginning of this year’s Zurich 6 Days, which he won in 2013, we caught up with him in his hometown of Baden, to find out more about his first season as a pro and learn more about what makes him tick.
Silvan, just 2 months ago, you celebrated your first season as a fully-fledged professional rider with the BMC Racing Team, as a World Champion. Care to comment?
I am really happy. I actually didn’t have such great hopes at the beginning of the season and I just wanted to see how it goes. Surprisingly I adapted pretty quickly to the pace of racing and was already able to ride in some of the big classics like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Later in the year I raced in the Tour de Suisse and the last big race was the UCI World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Each of those races were really great and the icing on the cake was winning the UCI TTT World Championships – the perfect end.Each of those races were really great and the icing on the cake was winning the UCI TTT World Championships – the perfect end
How did you get into the sport of cycling and when did it become clear to you that you would become a professional cyclist?
In my hometown, there is a local race for school kids called Eierlese and I took part in that race since I was able to sit on a bike. In around 2003, I started to take my Dad’s old bike to the local club training. From then on it just got better and better and it eventually came to the point where I had to choose between my studies and a career in professional sports. I eventually decided to go for it, and put my studies on hold.
What type of rider would you describe yourself and would you like to develop the most?
I see myself as an all-rounder and a classics rider. I would like to specialize in the northern classics like the Tour of Flanders, but later in my career perhaps also try my luck in a stage race.
What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?
I have no weakness! (laughing) No, I think my strengths lie in the fact that I can adapt really well and quickly. For example, if an upcoming race has a lot of climbing then I can really improve my climbing in advance. The same is true for time trialling. I can make quite some progress right up until race day. I believe I still have a lot of potential in most areas and I haven’t come close to my limits yet
What are your goals for next year and which races would you love to win in your career?
I would really like to test my form at the Tour Down Under and bring my conditioning from the track season there. After that, my focus lies in the Classics and especially Flanders. As a Swiss guy, it would obviously be really nice to win the Tour de Suisse; but also just a stage in the near future would be already nice.
You are one of the few riders who are as successful on the track as on the road. How does that work? Isn’t it hard to go on the track after a full season on the road?
It‘s definitely not easy, but I believe it is really down to good planning. The BMC Racing Team lets me take a break after the World Championships and I have time to recover and prepare for the track season. So it works out quite well. From December on I`ll concentrate fully on the road. Looking to the future to Rio, I’ll probably take a break after the Classics in 2016 and focus 100% on the track to prepare for the Olympics.
What is your goal for the Olympic Games 2016 in Brazil?
We are definitely top 10 material but the next year and a half will show us if it is also possible to medal there. That would be amazing.
Can you tell us a little bit about your set-up on the track?
In the Team Pursuit we are riding the trackmachine TR01, which is similar to the timemachine TM01. My actual position on the track bike is practically identical to my time trial position on the road. If it works on the road, then why change it!
And on the road? What are you riding?
I usually ride the teammachine SLR01, and in the northern classics, the granfondo GF01. We just tested it again on a short training camp and really, I find it perfect for the terrain of the classics.
Do you prefer the track or the road?
Road racing is really my top focus. But in the winter I like to ride on the track. It’s a nice change. The high cadence on the track really helps the souplesse on the road, so I can maintain a higher cadence.
You are one of the youngest riders on the team, what does it feel like to be riding amongst stars like Cadel Evans and Philippe Gilbert?
It is great! I can learn a lot. It has only been positive to date and it‘s really great to see that younger riders like me are so well accepted into the team. Philippe Gilbert for example, led me out in my home race in Gippingen and I came in second as a result. That a former World Champion would lead a neo-pro out, well, let’s just say that’s not really commonplace! That a former World Champion would lead a neo-pro out, well, let’s just say that’s not really commonplace!
Lots of people compare you to Fabian Cancellara. What do you make of that?
It's sort of normal really. That people are looking for a successor to Fabian, he has achieved so much and he has been so consistent throughout his career – it would be very hard to top that! At the same time, I'm really flattered that people compare me with him. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that I am a different rider to Fabian and I would like to go in the right direction for me.
What do you get up to when you aren’t on a bike?
I like to meet up with friends, for dinner or a drink. I also like to snowboard in my off season.
Party in Ibiza, hiking at Kilimanjaro, or sightseeing in New York? Pick one?
Fondue, Raclette or Pizza? What’s your favorite?
Now I would take a pizza, but I like fondue a lot as well!