British sports director Cherie Pridham to join ISN
Pridham: I feel proud and privileged and I hope to lead the way
Israeli Dror Pekatch will also join as sports director
Tel Aviv – Dec 4th
4 December 2020 (Tel Aviv) – Cherie Pridham will lead the Israel Start-Up Nation squad next season as sports director in the WorldTour and other races, becoming the first woman to assume the role at the highest level of professional cycling.
The team is also proud to announce that it will have an Israeli sports director at some of its 2021 races after reaching an agreement with Dror Pekatch.
“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,” reacted Pridham. “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.”
The appointment of Pridham is a significant development in what is traditionally a male-dominated sport. ISN Team Manager Kjell Carlstrom underlined Pridham’s credentials: “She has what is needed to be successful: experience and skills. I believe that Cherie will have a positive impact on our team and get the job done.”
Emphasizing her experience, Pridham 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.”
Pridham comes to ISN with an established and significant record of directing male riders in the sport, albeit not at WorldTour level. After a successful 15-year career as a pro rider (cut short by a hit-and-run accident in 2006), Cherie pivoted her career towards managing and directing. In 2011, she became one of the first female sports directors in Britain, with local team Raleigh, where she served as manager and director. A few years later, she became the owner, leading the team to victories in races all over the globe. Pridham also gained experience on the track, managing three track world champions.
“I have dealt with male cyclists all my life, so I do not see the move as any different in that regard,” said Pridham confidently.
ISN team owner Sylvan Adams: “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.”
For Israeli Dror Pekatch, joining the team is a happy reunion of sorts. He was the first sports director of the team when it was founded as Israel Cycling Academy back in 2014 and guided the team in its first season. As a pro, Pekatch, who enjoyed a successful career as a mountain biker, has since directed the Israeli National MTB team and works as a cycling broadcaster and analyst.
Team co-owner Ron Baron welcomed Pekatch back to the team. “Dror is a skilled DS and deserves the chance to take this step up to the highest level. For an Israeli team, it is crucial to have Israeli representation to further develop the sport of cycling in the country at all levels. This is our obligation.”
Pekatch said that he is “thrilled” to return, this time to a team that has made the jump from Continental to WorldTour: “The path the team has been on since its establishment is just unbelievable. It’s not even close to what we had back then, but it’s still, or even more, wrapped up in the blue and white colors and flag.”
Pekatch went on to express his confidence in the Israeli riders on the team and their ability to step up: “Our Israeli athletes are the heart and the core in many ways, but we need to see and judge them as equals now. We are here to win races.”
ISN Directeur Sportifs lineup 2021
Photos: alex Duffill & velouk