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As Israel Start-Up Nation announced Friday, Cherie Pridham is joining the squad a sport director, making her the first ever female DS in the men’s WorldTour.
“I feel truly proud and privileged to be the first woman to serve as a sport director at the WorldTour level, joining one of the best teams in the world and being entrusted with great and legendary riders,” Pridham said in a statement from the team. “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.”
Pridham, a former pro, is joining the Israeli WorldTour outfit after spending years with the Raleigh team that has since become Vitus Pro Cycling, where she was a sport director and manager, and ultimately became the team owner. The British Continental team stood out as one of the top squads in the Zwift racing circuit this season, but it has folded amid difficulties finding sponsorship funds in a season derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, Pridham is headed to the sport’s top division with Israel Start-Up Nation, which is bringing on plenty of new riders, including Chris Froome and Mike Woods, for next year as well.
“My role is Directeur Sportif, not Female Directeur Sportif, and I know that I’ll be expected to concentrate on that aspect,” Pridham said. “I’ll be tackling the very same issues as my colleagues – I’ll make the same mistakes and have the same successes too.”
Israel Start-Up Nation also announced that it will bring back Dror Pekatch, who worked with the team in its Continental days, as a DS next year, therefore adding two names to its DS list for next season. In addition to Pekatch and Pridham, that lineup also includes Rene Andrle, Claudio Cozzi, Dirk Demol, Zak Dempster, Oscar Guerrero, Lionel Marie, Nicki Sorensen, and Eric van Lancker, with Rik Verbrugge serving as the team’s sportive manager.