What does it take to be a Directeur Sportif?

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Ever wondered what it takes to be a Directeur Sportif, to lead a team to victory, deliver killer tactics, or deal with the aftermath of a defeat, or crash? Thanks to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), Voxwomen are off to find out.

The team are headed to the  DS course, delivered by the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland where the next generation of team leaders are learning the trade.

The training programme was launched by the UCI WCC in 2010, to be held once a year at the end of the road racing season. Of the 257 course participants over the past six years, very few have been women, so the UCI WCC offered scholarships to women to help boost their numbers, and increase the professionalism of women’s teams.

The UCI remarked: “The UCI World Cycling Centre’s course for Sporting Directors for women aims to encourage women to join cycling and to foster gender parity in our sport. Thanks to these initiatives, which ensure female DSs the highest standard of educations, women’s cycling is pursuing its professionalisation towards a healthy and sustainable future.”

Among the women taking part in this year’s course is Iris Slappendel, who is also a member of the UCI Athletes Commission. She told the UCI: “A lot of Directeur Sportifs are ex-professionals who stepping straight from their riding career into a team car. From my experience, being a good DS requires more skills than only having experience as a rider. I am happy to see more and more women rider who stay involved in cycling. The sport is definitely becoming less male-dominated and women have to see that they can also use their experience and skills to manage a team or become a DS. I have had good experiences myself with a female DS and it would be great if there were some more around.”

Voxwomen founder Anthony McCrossan said: “We are pleased to be invited by the UCI to give our viewers an insight into how future team directors are being trained. Our cameras will be finding out how the women on the DS Scholarship Programme fare on the testing course. It’s a unique insight and I am looking forward to seeing how the feature looks!”

The course runs from 10-17 November. We will be filming the action from the last two days of the course for both the Voxwomen Cycling Show and our YouTube channel, as well as going behind the scenes, getting some top tips and feature length interviews with the course attendees.