Continuing our series on cycling families, we’re turning our attention to the Dutch Kreder brothers – Michel and younger brother Raymond – who last week hit the headlines for all the right reasons: “Kreder brothers catapulted into contention at Tour Mediterraneen”. Yes, they’re riding for the same team, Garmin-Barracuda. Raymond joined his older brother Michel at the start of this season and already they’re turning heads.
Cycling has plenty of riders with blood ties, many riding for the same teams. Nowhere is this truer than at Garmin-Barracuda which has the Stetina brothers [more on them at a later date – Ed] and the recently headline-hitting Dutch Kreder brothers, who also have cousins (Dennis and Wesley Kreder) who race, though both boys credit their father for inspiring their love of cycling.
The elder, 24-year old Michel passed through the ranks of Rabobank’s Continental feeder team before joining Garmin in 2010. He proved himself in his first season before going on to win a stage at last year’s Circuit de la Sarthe. Michel has now been joined by the 22-year old Raymond, who’s previously ridden for Garmin’s feeder team, Chipotle Development, and has made steady progress – like his elder brother – on both road and track.
Michel is more of an all-rounder who claims his favourite race is Liege-Bastogne-Liege, while neo-pro Raymond is more of a Classics rider who’s recorded good results at junior and espoir level in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.
At the start of the season, the boys claimed their aim would be to win something together, maybe at the Tour Mediterraneen. Michel said:
It’s gonna be fun. There are short stages, so I think we can do something together in the sprints, try to lead each other out.
In stage two, Michel and his brother were responsible for leading out teammate Koldo Fernandez. The team took control of the race 12km from the finish line. A gap opened up on the last corner, just before the finish, and Michel seized his opportunity to create a well-deserved victory off the back of solid team work. Michel said:
It was really a team win. I was supposed to do the lead-out from 1km to go and I did that with my brother and Koldo on my wheel. At 700 metres there was a small corner to the left and normally my job [would be] over there but my brother and Koldo left a gap because I went so fast in the corner. I kept that gap until the finish!
Brother Raymond finished fifth.
Saturday’s revised stage three was also won by Michel when he ousprinted Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) and Guillaume Blot (Bretagne-Schuller) for victory number two and, thanks to winning time bonuses, moved into the leader’s jersey, with one stage remaining. Michel Kreder confirmed it was an awesome team win thanks to the lead out from Koldo and his brother Raymond.
Afterwards David Millar, Garmin-Barracuda team leader was moved to say on Twitter:
Kreder brothers: they were lame in team-bonding hike but appear to be crazed when they’ve got numbers on their backs.
Meanwhile, Garmin-Barracuda general manager Jonathan Vaughters hailed the ‘triple K’ lead-out as lethal.
Sunday’s shortened stage in the Tour Mediterranean was always going to be less to the brothers’ liking as it finished atop Col de Gardes. Nonetheless Michel, with the help of his brother and the rest of the team, finished with many of the pre-race favourites to take second overall and the jersey for best young rider.
Vaughters, on the eve of the Classics, has tipped the 24-year-old as a future man for the Ardennes and those pipe dreams could become a reality, after what had a been a difficult year for Kreder:
His performances have been in line with the type of rider he is. He had a pretty incredible year as a neo-pro and then last year he wasn’t so good. He came off a tough Vuelta and then instead of resting he did lots of Six Days in the winter. He basically started last year half-cooked and he never really got going again.
While wins like this don’t make you a Classics star, Vaughters believes Michel has the necessary promise to deliver. He said:
He’s the perfect rider for Amstel Gold. He’s good with small technical roads, crosswinds, and he’s really good at uphill sprints. He can climb well, too. He’s incredibly good technically so he’s a real racer. He doesn’t have a huge engine but he’s really explosive on short climbs and he’ll never lose a wheel.
Next up for Michel is the Volta ao Algarve, which starts today. Meanwhile his younger brother will continue to make steady progress in his first year as a professional rider in some of the smaller races.