Israel Start-Up Nation sports director Cherie Pridham says she hopes to help new signing Chris Froome win a fifth Tour de France title, and has also reflected on the reaction to her ground-breaking appointment as she became the first woman to secure such a role at a UCI WorldTour team.
Her new role will see Pridham link up with four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who joins Israel Start-Up Nation next week from Ineos Grenadiers and is aiming to win the race for the fifth time.
Froome missed last year’s race through injury, and was not selected for this year’s race as his recovery continued.
He rode the Vuelta a Espana, a race he has twice won, but finished 98th overall.
“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, speaking on BBC World Service’s Sport Today.
“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,” she continued.
Pridham, who herself rode eight editions of the Tour de France Féminin in her racing days – said that she had been flooded with messages of support and confessed that she found it “a bit overwhelming.”
She said: “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 position I've been given.”
The appointment sees the 49 year old, who has spent the past decade as team manager, then owner, on the UCI Continental circuit move up two tiers to the top rank of the sport, and the first woman to be sports director of a men’s team at that level since the UCI WorldTour was launched.
“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,” she revealed.
“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,” Pridham added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.