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Uno-X to ‘race like crazy’ and hit full parity with ambitious new Women’s WorldTour team

Scandinavian squad expands beyond men's division with brand-new women's team that lands directly in the top-tier of racing.

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The Women’s WorldTour will be bigger and better in 2022, and Uno-X is coming along for the party.

Uno-X will parachute directly into the Women’s WorldTour in its debut season next year as the ambitious Scandinavian squad expands its reach beyond its men’s division.

It’s a new venture that top brass is hoping will make waves.

“We’re gonna race like crazy and do it the Uno-X way,” team general manager Jens Haugland told VeloNews last week. “And I’m sure we will get results. And at the same time, we want to take care of our very young, talented riders and make sure that they take the next steps for the future.”

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The Women’s WorldTour league expands to 14 teams in 2022 after the UCI dished out six new licenses last week. Five went to pre-existing squads, including Human Powered Health (Rally Cycling), EF Education-Tibco-SVB, and Jumbo-Visma. The box-fresh Uno-X made it six.

The Scandi crew may be the new kids on the block next year, but they’re not planning on racing like rookies. The team has attracted a hard-hitting roster and will bring full parity in pay and resources across its men’s and women’s set-ups.

Former Canyon-SRAM pair Hannah Barnes and Hannah Ludwig join world hour-record holder Joss Lowden as established names in Uno-X’s 12-rider roster for 2022. Eight riders younger than 25 years old, including fast-rising talents Susanne Andersen and Hannah Ludwig, are the other standout feature of the new-formed team.

It’s a squad built for both the short- and long-term.

“We have found a really good combination of experience and youth, and we’re going to take that as a huge advantage going into the peloton next year,” Haugland said.

“But like in any other team, one thing is to look at the results now, but it’s also how you build the team, how you treat the riders, how you set up a strong culture. We are working a lot on that part to make sure that the culture can also be a huge strength for our system.”

Also read: Uno-X – the Scandi devo crew that’s taking it to the WorldTour

Uno-X may be a new name to the female peloton, but its day-glo yellow-and-red has been in pro cycling for several years. The men’s ProTeam outfit punched above its weight in 2021 with its “total racing” ethos and Hagens Berman Axeon-style development system.

The new women’s team won’t be seen as just an off-shoot of what’s already been built.

Haugland and Co. want fast results while focusing on long-term stability. Pay at the Uno-X Women’s team will equal or surpass the men’s second-division squad, and resources will be totally separate. New buses, trucks, staffers, and a separate Belgium-based service course are on the way, and former WorldTour pro Lars Bak comes in as sport director.

“It’s all completely separate from the men, because otherwise then you end up being sitting in the second row. And these riders and these people deserve to be in the first row,” Haugland said.

“If you want to create a strong team with a strong culture, you don’t lend people all over the place.”

Good pay and green vibes

Joss Lowden came close to retiring but chose to continue with her new contract
World hour record holder Joss Lowden is one of the headline names on the new team. (Photo: George Wood/Getty Images)

So how did Haugland bring established riders like Barnes, Ludwig, and Lowden to the team?

Good pay sure had its part to play. But Barnes said being part of something new and embracing a captaincy role she may not have found elsewhere also helped.

“The men’s team started in 2016 and they’ve built themselves up to be competitive and racing against the best,” Barnes told VeloNews. “They just felt like they’re at the time now to bring in a women’s team, and they’re ambitious that’s for sure. They’re not going into it to just how they do – they want to get some good results. I’m looking forward to being part of it from the start.”

Haugland said the parity in salaries and resources between the men’s and women’s teams wasn’t just a move to close-out contracts.

“Having equal pay levels was not even a debate for us,” he said. “Riders can see that here they can focus 100 percent on being an athlete with a well-paid job and develop themselves. We want to do what we can to help them be their best.”

As a chain of unmanned fuel stations, the Scandinavian Uno-X business has an awkward place in the pro peloton. Like petrochemical giant Ineos, critics could point at Uno-X as using cycling as a veil for its less-than-environmentally friendly business activity.

Haugland said that Uno-X is already ahead of the curve as the sport looks to clean up its footprint. The Scandi set-up has already spent big on eco-measures including a mass installation of e-mobility charging points and increasing use of biofuels.

“We are today a fuel business with elements of the other [greener] stuff, but the balance is changing now,” Haugland said. “Our business will be totally different in five years down the road. And together with the teams that will be a fantastic story.”