Silvan Dillier Claims Route du Sud Race Lead with One Stage Remaining17. June 2017, Gavarnie-Gèdre (FRA) — Road Team
Silvan Dillier put in a huge effort in the breakaway on stage 3, the queen stage, of Route du Sud and crossed the line in Gavarnie-Gèdre to claim the race lead by one second ahead of the final stage.
Dillier’s second place finish and the significant time gained by the breakaway over the peloton on stage 1 meant the battle for the General Classification would come down to just nine riders on stage 3, the final day of climbing.
Despite sitting in second place overall, Dillier formed part of an 11-rider breakaway after 40km of racing. Dillier’s threat to the General Classification meant the peloton kept the group within two and a half minutes for the first half of the stage.
Before the breakaway reached the category 1 Col du Tourmalet, Dillier claimed the first intermediate sprint, adding points to his lead in the sprint classification and gaining three valuable bonus seconds.
On the ascent of the Col du Tourmalet, the breakaway split up and Dillier found himself chasing the leading trio of Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team).
Dillier reached the summit in fourth place but put his descending skills to the test as behind, the peloton was reduced to just 30 riders, three minutes behind the then-leading duo of Moscon and Rolland.
Dillier battled on behind and ascended the next climb, the RF de Gaborisse in third place, before chasing the duo down on the descent and making contact with 20km to go.
With more bonus seconds on offer at the second and final intermediate sprint, Dillier added another three bonus seconds to his haul before the brutal final climb started.
As the trio tackled the climb to Gavarnie-Gèdre, led by Dillier, a small group of General Classification contenders were behind and it became clear the battle for the overall lead would come down to a matter of seconds between Dillier and Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team), who started the day 12 seconds behind Dillier.
Rolland attacked on the climb and held on to take the solo win and less than one minute behind, Dillier gave it everything he had to fight for the race lead. Carapaz passed Dillier in the final kilometer and crossed the line 13 seconds ahead in third place, to also claim a four-second time bonus.
However, the six-second bonus Dillier had picked up during the stage meant Dillier claimed the race lead by a mere second and continues to lead the sprint and King of the Mountain classification with one stage remaining.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“If somebody had told me before the race that I was going to be going for the General Classification at Route du Sud, I would have told them that they were crazy. But now it is happening. The first objective was to make the breakaway today to get some bonus seconds and points for the sprint jersey, and then I took it climb by climb to see where I ended up at the top and how much I could get back on the descents. All of a sudden, I was in a position to take the leader’s jersey and I took it by one second.”
“On the final climb, Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) were with me but they told me that it was up to me to do all of the pulling because I was going for the GC. So I basically did my own time trial all the way to the finish. They attacked me with about 5km to go but I just kept my own rhythm and eventually, Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) overtook me with 250m to go. I was going full gas and couldn’t accelerate anymore. Eventually, I just crossed the finish line with the right time to take the jersey.”
“It’s a flat stage tomorrow so it’s one for the sprinters. So, I think the only way Carapaz can take the jersey from me is with bonus seconds. You also have to pay attention to splits at the finish line. But, I think we have a good team to defend the jersey. I didn’t think I would be in this position at Route du Sud.”
Route du Sud
Stage 3 Saint Gaudens > Gavarnie-Gèdre (167km)
Top 3: 1. Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team), 2. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky), 3. Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team)