Mr and Mrs Lindeman probably did not have to scratch their heads too much about what to give their two lads for Christmas: bikes, bike parts, bike accessories… Whenever Adrie, the older of the two, got something, that was exactly what his younger brother Bert-Jan wanted too. Both of them wanted to become cyclists and both have fulfilled their dreams and became professional riders. If there really exists something called a cycling gene, the Lindeman brothers would definitely be perfect proof.WATCH THE CYCLING GENE VIDEO
“When you are Dutch riding a bike comes as the most natural thing in the world and obviously we started cycling with our mum and dad when we were very young. We used to race each other even as little boys ,” Adrie Lindeman remembers his formative years with younger brother Bert-Jan.
Bert-Jan (1989) rides for Rabobank, whilst Adrie (1985) signed up for Koga. They first locked wheels in 2012, figuratively speaking, during the Tour of Drenthe, a province in the Netherlands. Bert-Jan came away with brotherly bragging rights by winning the event, with his older brother finishing a long way back down the field. The brothers kept quiet about any effect that might have had on the atmosphere round the family breakfast-table. When asked whether their brotherly rivalry can sometimes spill over and blind them into competitive tactics, Bert-Jan responds like the model professional he is: “As a rider you are always working in a team. If you get certain instructions from your team, you have to respect those instructions.”
The instructions from their respective team managements are far more important to both brothers than any sense of brotherly love or sibling rivalry: “That is just the way it is. We are professionals,” Bert-Jan responds without hesitation and Adrie agrees with him: “During races my team is my family. I work together with my teammates. And at the end of the day, whoever is the strongest ends up the winner. That’s the way it works in cycling.”
However much they gloss over the issue, though, their brotherly battles have kicked up a veritable storm in Dutch cycling. The brothers are forever being asked to pose together or ride off together into the distance for the cameras, or facing a barrage of questions about each other’s form, results and chances. They automatically become the main media attraction before any race that they are both competing in. They both try to focus solely on their own performance, batting off questions about the other and diverting things towards their own riding or the general conditions they can expect in the race ahead – the weather, other rivals, their own shape. If anyone tries to point out that blood is thicker than water, both brothers respond in the same way – with references to professionalism.
You can forget about digging up dirt from either brother about what things are really like behind the scenes in the Lindeman family. One thing is certain: when they sit around the family table, the talk will be about cycling. And will the brothers be wrapping up their respective team jerseys to swap under the Lindeman Christmas tree this year? We will have to wait a few weeks to find out about that one.