Carmen Small, a former professional cyclist, has announced her move from Jumbo-Visma to become the lead sports director of the newly established Continental team EF Education-Cannondale in 2024. Small expressed her excitement about joining an American team, as she herself is American. Despite the team being Europe-based, Small is looking forward to being part of an international setup and the opportunity to participate in US nationals, something she hasn’t had the chance to do before.
Small has had a successful cycling career, retiring in 2017 with numerous accolades including two time-trial titles at the US National Championships and a bronze medal in time trials at the World Championships. Post-retirement, she transitioned into a directorial role, first with Virtu Cycling and Ceratizit-WNT, then with Jumbo-Visma, where she spent three seasons working with General Manager Esra Tromp.
Small spoke highly of her experience working with Tromp, praising her exceptional management skills which focus on bringing out the best in people and nurturing team spirit. She expressed her enthusiasm for working alongside Tromp again at EF Education-Cannondale.
Small’s move to EF Education-Cannondale is seen as an exciting prospect as the team, despite having the infrastructure in place from the men’s team, represents a clean slate. Small is relishing the chance to help build and shape the team from scratch, as she previously did with Team Virtu.
EF Education-Cannondale has signed 14 riders since its announcement in June including Megan Armitage, Letizia Borghesi, Kim Cadzow, Clara Emond, Veronica Ewers, Kristen Faulkner, Lotta Henttala, Alison Jackson, Nina Kessler, Clara Koppenburg, Coryn Labecki, Noemi Rüegg, Elizabeth Stannard and Magdeleine Vallieres.
Small praised the team’s philosophy which combines professionalism with a playful attitude. She highlighted the importance of fostering good communication, cohesion, and a supportive environment as fundamental to team success. She believes in creating an environment where everyone is helping each other succeed and views her role as a motivator, aiming to get the best out of the riders.
Comparing her role as sports director to her previous profession as a maths teacher, Small emphasised the need for organisation, accountability, and pre-race planning. She finds her work motivating and exciting, whether it involves mental preparation with the riders or race management from the team car.
She expressed her enthusiasm for her job, stating that the feeling remains the same regardless of whether it’s a training camp or the Tour de France – she approaches every event with the same motivation and love for her work.