Another Saffer in the World Tour: Cherie Pridham Joins ISN

Cherie Pridham will become the first female DS at the highest level of cycling when she joins Chris Froome's Isreal Startup Nation in 2021.

By Andrew Dawson |

  • Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) has named Cherie Pridham its next sport director, making her the first woman sports director in professional cycling history.
  • After 15 years as a pro rider and 14 as a manager and director, Pridham now takes the reigns a men’s team on the WorldTour.
  • ISN was created in 2014 and is the first Israeli team to finish a WorldTour event.

Cherie Pridham has been announced as the next sport director for Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN), making history as the first woman sports director in professional cycling history.

ISN announced the historic move on December 4. The young team was founded in 2014 and became the first team from Israel to compete in the WorldTour. Seven years later, they’re making history again.

“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,” Pridham said in a press release from ISN. “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 is no stranger to pro cycling or directing a men’s team. She spent 15 years as a pro rider, after learning her cycle craft as a junior in South Africa alongside Qhubeka-Assos big boss Doug Ryder, before her career was cut short in 2006 after a hit-and-run accident. Since then, she has spent her time transitioning into management and directing roles, including becoming the first female sports director in Britain in 2011 with Raleigh’s local team.

She became the owner a few years later, leading the team all over the globe. She also managed three track world champions.

Cherie Pridham

Now, she will take on her biggest role yet. She does come in with no directing experience on the WorldTour, but she is prepared to take on the challenge in the sport that has traditionally been male-dominated from top to bottom.

“My role is Directeur Sportif, not Female Directeur Sportif, and I know that I’ll be expected to concentrate on that aspect,” Pridham said in the press release. “I’ll be tackling the very same issues as my colleagues – I’ll make the same mistakes and have the same successes too.”

Pridham will debut in her new role for the 2021 season, managing a team of riders that includes four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

“Cherie has the distinction of being the first female sports director on a men’s WorldTour squad,” ISN team owner Sylvan Adams said in a press release. “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.”

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