Dillier Sprints to Second After Solo Effort on Route du Sud Stage 115. June 2017, Saint-Pons-De-Thomières (FRA) — Road Team
Silvan Dillier animated stage 1 of Route du Sud with a solo effort on the first mountain stage which saw him claim the two intermediate sprints before sprinting to second place.
Dillier was the first rider to attack and formed part of a three-rider breakaway after 12km. The trio quickly established a solid advantage and by the 30km mark, the gap has extended to 2’50”.
The race situation stabilized and the peloton kept Dillier’s group within three minutes for the first half of the stage. The advantage came down to two minutes before the peloton eased their chase and allowed the trio to go four minutes clear.
After Dillier won the two intermediate sprints, the breakaway continued on to the first two categorized climbs of the day. The pace of the peloton increased on the climb and while many riders were dropped, four riders jumped clear from the bunch to form a chase group behind the breakaway.
Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) was dropped from Dillier’s group, leaving just Dillier and Julien Loubet (Armée de Terre) with a slight advantage over the chase group as they approached the summit of Col de la Bane.
Dillier took the honors on Col de la Bane and attacked on the descent to go solo for the next 15km of racing, during which time he held a 20-second advantage on the five-rider chase group.
Just inside 40km to go, Dillier was caught and immediately jumped in the wheel to form a six-rider leading group, 1’30” clear of another chase group and four minutes ahead of the peloton. With two climbs still to come, Loubet attacked again and gained 50” on the chase group with Dillier.
Behind, multiple attacks were neutralized and after being dropped and then fighting back, Dillier led the chase behind Loubet on the descent of the final climb, the Col de Saint-Colombe.
Loubet held on to take the stage win and Dillier sprinted to second place, 22 seconds behind. After taking points on all three climbs and the two intermediate sprints, Dillier is leading the Sprint classification and the King of the Mountain classification.
With temperatures over 37 degrees, Dylan Teuns was forced to retire after suffering from the extreme weather conditions.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“At the beginning of the stage everyone was sprinting to try and get in the breakaway but then it flattened out and I was alone. I kept on going for a couple of kilometers before the other two guys joined me. I felt really good. I never expected to finish so far ahead of the peloton. Some guys attacked on the first climb and eventually joined us in the final and I expected them to go really hard on the last climb, to fight it out for the stage win, but they never did. I followed until the last kilometer of the final climb and then tried to force the split in the downhill to catch Loubet. We didn’t catch him and the rest of the group caught on me on the finish line”
“I can imagine that quite a lot of people suffered in the heat. It was the same with me. I drank so much, around 10 litres I think. Your stomach feels like it’s going to explode but you have to keep drinking because it was so hot. Now I have the KOM and sprint jerseys. For the KOM jersey, the third day is important so I probably will try to go in the breakaway. Tomorrow is a bunch sprint and we will try to help Jempy Drucker get the win.”
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director:
“Today was a really, really tough day of racing. It was about 37 degrees the whole stage and with the three climbs, it was super hard. But, Silvan Dillier did a very good ride. He showed he definitely has good legs and continued his good form from the Giro d’Italia. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the stage win but he definitely showed good signs. We will now look to tomorrow which should, on paper, be a sprint stage. We know Jempy Drucker is in good shape and we hope he can be up there. We said from the beginning that stage wins, not the General Classification, is our priority so each day is an opportunity for us.”
Route du Sud
Stage 1 Villeveyrac > Saint-Pons-De-Thomières (176.6KM)
Top 3: 1. Julien Loubet (Armée de Terre), 2. Silvan Dillier, 3. Mauro Finetto (Delko-Marseille Provence KTM).