Alexander Kristoff signs three-year contract with Uno-X

SCHOTEN BELGIUM APRIL 06 Alexander Kristoff of Norway and Team Intermarch Wanty Gobert Matriaux celebrates winning the race on the podium ceremony after the 110th Scheldeprijs 2022 Mens Elite a 1987km one day race from Terneuzen to Schoten SP22 on April 06 2022 in Schoten Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alexander Kristoff will drop to ProTeam level and return to a team in his native Norway next year, signing for the Uno-X after spending 2022 at Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. 

The 35-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the up-and-coming Norwegian ProTeam that will see him through 2025 and his 38th birthday. 

Kristoff raced at Continental level in Norway before turning professional with BMC Racing in 2010. He went on to enjoy a career that has featured more than 80 victories, including Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and four stages of the Tour de France. 

Kristoff rode for the Katusha team for six years and UAE Team Emirates for four years before switching to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert at the start of 2022. 

He won Scheldeprijs, the Clásica de Almería and a stage of the Tour of Norway, helping the Belgian team enjoy a revitalised season after they secured WorldTour status in 2021 by taking over the CCC licence.

Kristoff has shared Classics and sprint leadership with Biniam Girmay but he is on the move next year, joining Uno-X on a three-year contract.

"I am excited to share the news that I will be racing for Uno-X team for the next three years. I hope I can help the team to take a new step the next years," Kristoff wrote on social media.

"However the decision to change from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was not easy! And I am very motivated to give it my best for the remaining races of this season with my friends."

The Uno-X team started out as a Continental-level outfit in 2010 to develop Norwegian riders, but have made strides in recent years and, after reaching the ProTeam ranks in 2020, they've set their sights on a spot in the WorldTour. 

They set out their intentions to apply for a WorldTour licence from 2023 but, provided all current top-tier teams continue, they will not have enough UCI points to achieve that goal. With licences awarded on a three-year cycle, the next opportunity would come in 2026.

The team are currently 22nd in the 2022 rankings so would not earn automatic wildcards to the biggest races next year and would have to rely on invites from race organisers. However, they have been making increasing appearances in major Classics and stage races in the past two years and have often tried to animate the races. 

Kristoff joins a young squad that includes the highly-rated Norwegian youngster Tobias Halland Johannessen, along with Rasmus Tiller and Anton Charmig.

Intermarché will not feel Kristoff's loss too keenly given the emergence of Girmay as a top Classics contender and versatile sprinter, while Gerben Thijssen beat a number of big name sprinters this week at the Tour de Pologne. The French team is also expected to sign a number of new riders for 2023.

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Patrick Fletcher

Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.