WorldTeam Cherie Pridham becomes sports director at Lotto Soudal
Cherie Pridham will join the group of Lotto Soudal sports directors in 2022. This season, the 50-year-old Briton was sports director at Israel Start-Up Nation. After a successful 15-year career as a pro rider, Cherie Pridham pivoted her career towards managing and directing.
“If you can’t beat the Belgians, join them”, were Cherie Pridham’s first words after the announcement. “It was absolutely not on my radar to direct a Belgian team, but when the Lotto Soudal project was presented to me, I was immediately charmed by it. I raced a lot in Belgium. I know how much cycling means for Belgian people. I am not afraid, I am ready to make a positive contribution to the team’s future.”
As an athlete, Cherie Pridham was a world class bike rider, completing no less than eight editions of the Tour de France Féminin and two of the Giro Rosa. After her career she went into management.
“And I only heard good things about her”, says Lotto Soudal general manager John Lelangue. “I spoke with some five other candidates for this job, but then some riders suggested me Cherie. After our first interview I was immediately convinced. She was by far the best sports director. She really can and will bring something new to the team. Earlier she already brought other teams to a higher level. For the dynamics of the team she is a surplus. She is strong in organization and works well with people, riders and staff. Whether you’re male or female doesn’t matter at all to do this job. First and foremost, she’s a director, not a female director. Cherie is just the person we need.”
Cherie Pridham is indeed the first female sports director in the top tier of modern male cycling.
“As long as I do my job, then it is not important to be a man or a woman. In 2021 I always got respect and appreciation. I really want to thank the owners of Israel Start-Up Nation. They gave me the chance to develop my skills. That was an invaluable experience which I can use to help making Lotto Soudal a more exciting team. If I just can bring some small touches, some more modern things into the organization, that could make already a big difference. The important thing is that all riders and staff feel that they are part of a successful team. We will have fun with Lotto Soudal, but with the riders we need to go to war as well. And we can win the battle”, concluded Cherie Pridham.