Cherie Pridham becomes first woman to take sports director role at men’s WorldTour level

Pridham recently announced the closure of her Continental team Vitus Pro Cycling 

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. 

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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.”