In a male dominated profession Josée Larocque made headlines in November when she became the first female to take the UCI’s director sportif course, but the Spidertech pioneer has asked for no special treatment from the sport.
The UCI had confirmed that 50 sports director have taken the first step in their annual course at their World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. Although the final phase of the course, and the results will not be public for another two months Larocque is aware that her breakthrough can open more doors for females within the sport.
“It was interesting to know that I was the first woman. It’s been such a man’s environment but the doors are open for females to achieve this position. It is possible. A woman can maybe bring another strategy to how things could work, a different vision and I think it’s a positive step,” she told Cyclingnews.
“When the race is on there’s no difference and I don’t want there to be a difference. I don’t want any privilege, and I have to face the same music as everyone else. It certainly shouldn’t be any different because we’re all doing the same job.”
Larocque and Steve Bauer started Spidertech and have grown the operation into a budding and successful Pro Continental team. Having already been behind the wheel at the 2011 Tour of California though, Larocque is hoping that the UCI’s course will help develop her skills within the sport.
“First of all, being the first one was something we talked about. It was just about getting more knowledge as a sports director for the future with what the UCI are trying to do in the sport. Being a DS isn’t just about driving a car, there’s a lot more to it behind the scenes and it’s important that these people get a structure. It gives you help on the technical aspects of the job, equipment ruling, leadership, anti-doping, the biological passport. It was valuable.”
The course was introduced in 2009 with former sports director, Scott Sunderland involved in the design.
WCC Director Frédéric Magné said he was delighted to have welcomed so many sports directors in 2011: “This training course has given Sports Directors the opportunity to build on their expertise and share their wide experience in a constructive manner. Following the success of this UCI-WCC course, we have decided to organise four such courses in 2012.”