Cherie Pridham: Israel Start-Up Nation sports director on 'leading the way' for women in cycling

Cherie Pridham with a Raleigh rider
Cherie Pridham (right) was a rider herself before moving into management

Israel Start-Up Nation sports director Cherie Pridham says the "overwhelming" reaction to her appointment shows she has a role to play in "leading the way" for women in men's cycling.

Pridham became the first woman to take up such a role at the top level of cycling earlier this month.

She said she is still doing several interviews a day and has received "well over 1,000" messages of support.

"It is still a bit overwhelming," she told BBC World Service's Sport Today.

"I assumed the news would be around for a day or two - it's been bonkers to try and accept all the attention.

"But I'm starting to realise the significance of the positive I've been given."

Pridham, 49, was one of the first female sports directors in Britain with Raleigh and later became team owner.

She said she had initially "not given much thought" to being the first women's sports director for a men's professional team because she was used to being "the only female moving through the ranks" both as a young rider racing against boys and in management.

"A handful of messages stood out and one in particular from a 14-year-old Spanish girl thanking me for the opening the doors for her, because her dream is to be a sports director for the men's Movistar team," added Pridham.

"I've had so many messages that have made me sit up and think I do have a role to play in terms of leading the way for the next generation and hopefully quickly and we see more and more women involved in the sport."

Britain's most successful road cyclist Chris Froome, who is a four-time Tour de France winner, is joining Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) as team leader next season.

Pridham said she is yet to meet Froome but is looking forward to working with "a consummate professional" in his aim to win a record-equalling fifth Tour title next year.

Froome struggled for form in 2020 following his return from a crash before the 2019 Tour, in which he suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs.

"We are all working with him very carefully and making sure he gets back to full health and back to the Chris Froome we all love and hopefully we can get a fifth Tour title for him," said Pridham.

"My personal aim this season is to get into the rhythm of the WorldTour and if I could deliver a race win at some stage this season that would be the icing on the cake."

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