Cherie Pridham, who became the first female sport director for a men’s WorldTour team when she joined Israel Start-Up Nation this year, will join Lotto Soudal in 2022.
“If you can’t beat the Belgians, join them,” Pridham said via a team press release. “It was absolutely not on my radar to direct a Belgian team, but when the Lotto Soudal project was presented to me, I was immediately charmed by it. I raced a lot in Belgium. I know how much cycling means for Belgian people. I am not afraid, I am ready to make a positive contribution to the team’s future.”
Following a lengthy pro racing career of her own, Pridham spent several years at the helm of the Vitus Pro Cycling organization. After the British Continental squad folded at the end of 2020, Pridham joined Israel Start-Up Nation as a sport director, and in so doing, she became the first female DS for a men’s WorldTour team.
She directed the team’s first WorldTour victory of the season in May, when Mads Würtz Schmidt won stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Now, she is heading elsewhere for the next step in her DS career.
“As long as I do my job, then it is not important to be a man or a woman. In 2021 I always got respect and appreciation,” she said. “I really want to thank the owners of Israel Start-Up Nation. They gave me the chance to develop my skills. That was an invaluable experience which I can use to help making Lotto Soudal a more exciting team. If I just can bring some small touches, some more modern things into the organization, that could make already a big difference. The important thing is that all riders and staff feel that they are part of a successful team. We will have fun with Lotto Soudal, but with the riders we need to go to war as well. And we can win the battle.”