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2022 Team Preview: Uno-X Women

LAGOS PORTUGAL FEBRUARY 19 Start Daniel Hoelgaard of Norway and UnoX Norwegian Development Team Torjus Sleen of Norway and UnoX Norwegian Development Team Dare Bike Bus Detail view Portimo City during the 46th Volta ao Algarve 2020 Stage 1 a 1956km stage from Portimo to Lagos VAlgarve2020 on February 19 2020 in Lagos Portugal Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Uno-X (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Who?

  • Manager: Jens Haugland
  • Squad size: 12
  • Average age: 23.7

Uno-X is one of the most exciting new women's teams in cycling and, in their first year, will be part of the top-tier 2022 Women's WorldTeams. 

Unlike in previous years, first-year teams are now permitted to by-pass the Continental level and apply directly for a WorldTeam licence due to the new amendment to Article 2.013.034 bis. However, new teams aiming to jump straight up to the WorldTour, like Uno-X, still had to fulfil the four main requirements: financial, ethical, administrative, and organisational.

Uno-X has had steady progress in cycling over the last six seasons. The Scandinavian-based fuel and energy brand created a men’s Continental team in 2017 and upgraded it to a second-tier ProTeam licence in 2020, and they are aiming for a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France in 2022 and a WorldTour licence in 2023.

General Manager and CEO of Uno-X Jens Haugland has committed to bringing his first-year women's team to the WorldTour first, while also offering the female riders a proven organisation, minimum salaries set at or above the men’s ProTeam counterpart, more than the mandated base salary for the Women's WorldTour, and a vision of long-term success at the highest level of women’s cycling.

The team announced a solid 12-rider roster that includes Hannah Barnes and Hannah Ludwig, Susanne Andersen, Joscelin Lowden, Julie Leth, Anne Dorthe Ysland, Amalie Lutro, Wilma Olausson, Mie Bjørndal Ottestad, Anniina Ahtosalo, Rebecca Koerner, and five-time track world champion Elinor Barker, who is currently on maternity leave and expects to return to racing in 2023.

Key Riders

IMOLA ITALY SEPTEMBER 26 Hannah Barnes of The United Kingdom during the 93rd UCI Road World Championships 2020 Women Elite Road Race a 143km race from Imola to Imola Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari ImolaEr2020 Imola2020 on September 26 2020 in Imola Italy Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

Hannah Barnes racing for Team GB at the 2020 UCI Road World Championships (Image credit: Getty Images)

Hannah Barnes - She's a fast sprinter, punchy climber and powerful time triallist, but more importantly, she is one of the best team players in the peloton. She may not have been given the role of out-right leader on previous teams but she is one of the most experienced pros who helps create team cohesion and she is happiest when she's helping others win – this is a leadership quality that should not be underestimated when it comes to a team's overall success. 

At Uno-X, Barnes will be the captain on the team, bringing experience from nine years of pro racing spread across UnitedHealthcare, Canyon-SRAM, and her superb work for Team GB. A former world champion in the team time trial, she aims to work closely with each rider and with the team to see it reach success in its first two seasons on the WorldTour.

Joss Lowden - The women's UCI World Hour Record holder brings an enormous amount of time trial power to the team, already proven after she set the new World Hour Record, 48.405 kilometres, at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland in September. 

The 33-year-old British rider is relatively new to the sport, having competed with Storey Racing in 2018 before spending three seasons with the largely-development programme Drop-Le Col. She had a successful season last year placing fifth at Brabantse Pijl, winning a stage along with the overall title at the Tour de Feminin, and securing multiple podium finishes in the time trials throughout the year. A full season of racing could bring out the untapped potential in Lowden that will be an asset to Uno-X on the Women's WorldTour.

Susanne Andersen - She started her career with Hitec Products in 2016 and then spent three seasons with the top-tier Team DSM where she has developed into a consistent top-10 performer on the WorldTour, including two second places in stages at the Ladies Tour of Norway and Simac Ladies Tour and eighth place at the Ronde van Drenthe.

At just 23 years old, this Norwegian talent is continuing to develop and at Uno-X she will be given the leeway to take on more responsibility and to take opportunities. We can expect to see Andersen come into her own at stage races that also include the Women's Tour and the newly formed Battle of the North.

Hannah Ludwig - Uno-X has no shortage of time trial power, and we can include Ludwig into that mix of talent. Her strengths have been put toward domestique work in previous years, but she has also had stand-out rides in time trials with a bronze medal at the German Championships, two third places in the two time trial stages at the Baloise Belgium Tour, and a silver medal in the U23 women's time trial at European Championships

Just 21 years old, Ludwig is only just beginning what has the potential to be a long and successful career. Like Andersen, at Uno-X she will have more opportunities to build her confidence as a contender and an emerging leader.

Strengths

LEUVEN BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 25 Joscelin Lowden of Great Britain leads the peloton during the 94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 Women Elite Road Race a 1577km race from Antwerp to Leuven flanders2021 on September 25 2021 in Leuven Belgium Photo by Alex Broadway PoolGetty Images

Joscelin Lowden (Team GB) leads the peloton at the 2021 UCI Road World Championships (Image credit: Getty Images)

Uno-X is a new team and so we can't look to previous seasons to pinpoint strengths but they start with a clean slate and a young roster full of talent and time trial power. We can expect to see this team excel in the individual and team time trials during stage races and standalone events like the Postnord Vargarda with riders like Ludwig, Lowden, Barnes and Julie Leth.

As a new team, they will also be motivated to take every opportunity available to them and so we can expect to see this team excel in breakaways and risk-taking. It won't always work out, but part of learning and developing means trying new tactics to see what works and what doesn't.

The team have a veteran rider in Barnes that is more than happy to pass down her racing knowledge and guide this new programme to success. Her best strength is her ability to unite a team and patiently work toward progress while she is also the team's fastest sprinter and a punchy climber, so watch for her in the finals.

Weaknesses

A new team always needs time to grow together and to learn to work as a cohesive unit. The riders will have met at two early-season training camps, prior to the start of the racing season, to get to know one another. The real learning begins in the races and so we can expect to see them fixing small problems during the opening events in Spain and perhaps even into the Spring Classics. 

Verdict

EDE NETHERLANDS AUGUST 24 Julie Leth of Denmark and Ceratizit WNT Pro Cycling Team during the 23rd Simac Ladies Tour 2021 Prologue a 24km Individual Time Trial stage from Ede to Ede SLT2021 SimacDS UCIWWT on August 24 2021 in Ede Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Julie Leth (Image credit: Getty Images)

Uno-X is a refreshing addition to the 2022 Women's WorldTour. 

They've shown a progressive mentality straight out of the gate supporting their women's team into the WorldTour, equal (or above) wages of their men's ProTeam counterpart, with a maternity leave structure in place based on company policy and values, and a general attitude that allows their new women's team to feel welcome and accepted as part of the already existing men's programme. 

The squad will experience growing pains, as all new programmes do, but they have motivation, experience, power and youth on their side. Watch this team take every opportunity in their first year on the circuit and to grow into a top performing team in the years to come.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.