Cherie Pridham will become the first woman to take up a role as sports director in a men’s WorldTour team, as she joins Israel Start-Up Nation.
Pridham, a former pro who has a long history of running men’s teams, recently announced the closure of her British Continental squad Vitus Pro Cycling, after 11 year of running Conti outfits.
Israel Start-Up Nation has been making some major signings for 2021, as they try to build the team around their new Grand Tour leader, Chris Froome.
Pridham said: “I feel truly proud and privileged to be the first woman to serve as a sports director at the WorldTour level, joining one of the best teams in the world and being entrusted with great and legendary riders.
“So, for me, I want to get it right because when I do, I know that it will inspire others to take the same journey and that really does mean something to me.”
After a 15-year career as a pro, cut short by a hit-and-run in 2006, Pridham turned her attention management with Team Raleigh, eventually coming to own the squad.
She said: “My role is directeur sportif, not female directeur sportif, and I know that I’ll be expected to concentrate on that aspect. I’ll be tackling the very same issues as my colleagues – I’ll make the same mistakes and have the same successes too.”
“I have dealt with male cyclists all my life, so I do not see the move as any different in that regard.”
Israel Start-Up Nation, the first Israeli WorldTour team formed from a merger between Katusha-Alpecin and Israel Cycling Academy, has been growing in strength for 2021 after signing four-time Tour de France winner Froome from Team Ineos.
Mike Woods, Paddy Bevin and Daryl Impey will be among those joining the squad, while the team will have a strong British contingent with Froome, Pridham and Alex Dowsett.
ISN co-owner Sylvan Adams said: “Cherie has the distinction of being the first female sports director on a men’s WorldTour squad. She has earned this position through her experience and success in various roles on both women’s and men’s teams.
“Cherie is a true professional and will have an opportunity to work with the very best riders in the pro peloton. I welcome her to Israel Start-Up Nation. I’m very excited for the coming season.”