Thursday, April 15

Cherie Pridham, the woman who triumphs in a world of men and bikes


  • The British technical manager became the first woman to win a top-level cycling stage on the Tirreno Adriatico as director on Monday.

  • On the Tour, she will be responsible for the Israel team to lead Chris Froome in the difficult challenge of winning a fifth victory in Paris.

  • “My role is to be a sports director, not a female sports director,” she repeats.

He drives the car of Israel, the cycling team that bears the name of a country that, like others, seeks through this sport enough promotion to attract tourists when the situation of the pandemic allows it. Is named Cherie pridham and in May he will be 50 years old. “My role is to be a sports director, not a female sports director,” she repeats in any interview when she highlights the peculiarity of being the first woman to lead a top-level cycling team and the person who will get behind the wheel and define the tactic in the difficult challenge you intend to achieve Chris Froome on the next Tour. Follow in the footsteps of Jacques anquetil, Eddy merckx, Bernard Hinault Y Miguel Indurain and add a fifth victory in Paris.

Precisely, neither Anquetil neither Merckx they could have been led by a woman. Cycling used to be one of the most macho sports until a few decades ago. It so happens that until the end of the 70s any woman was forbidden to accredit herself in the French round. In 1978 the first journalist appeared in the press room, who was seen by her colleagues as some kind of weirdo. And, of course, he did not write about technical and sporting issues of the Tour, but he wrote society notes about the race.

The antecedent of Ocaña

Until Luis Ocana was at risk of losing the 1973 Tour. The rider wanted to sleep with Josiane, his wife, who sneaked into his room. Until one day a race judge discovered her to threaten the cyclist to strip him of his yellow jersey if he shared a bed with his partner again. OcanaThrough the good and the bad, he never paid much attention to what other people told him.

At that time the presence of women was only allowed on the Tour to perform the role of stewardess and distribute kisses on the podium, with the sole exception of Yvette horner, who traveled during the 50s in the publicity caravan of the race to encourage the public stationed in the gutters with his Mexican hat and playing the accordion.

Today there are doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, press officers and, with the exception of Pridham, to a woman who on Monday became the first sports director to win a stage in a World Tour race, the Tirreno-Adriatico with the Danish Mads würtz, a race that the phenomenon of Tadej pogacar with Mikel Landa installed in the third final place of the general.

“All my life I have worked with male cyclists. And that is not a problem for me. I just hope that my work opens the doors to other women because I will have the same problems in the car as other colleagues. I will make the same mistakes and I will reap the same successes, “he says Pridham, as a great enthusiast of this sport.

Many years linked to cycling

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And it is that she has been linked to cycling for years. As a runner, she contested the Grande Boucle (the female version of the Tour) eight times and two Giros until in 2006 she had to hang up her bike after suffering an accident. Then he began his work as a sports manager in modest teams. And he founded his own squad until last December the Israel Stard up Nation incorporated it to its technical staff where the Spanish is also present. Oscar Guerrero.

The Israeli set searched Pridham to the person who could redirect the career of Froome, after leaving Ineos (formerly Sky) to give a last push on the Tour against new talents led by Pogacar and the youngest of his generation like Primoz Roglic. Difficult they have it. Impossible?



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