Former pro Lars Bak will lead the creation of a new women's team under the Norwegian Uno-X banner for 2022 with aspirations of heading directly to the UCI Women's WorldTour, according to TV2 Sport.
Bak retired after 18 seasons as a professional, closing out his career with Dimension Data after seven seasons with Lotto Soudal.
The Dane has been named as general manager for the new women's team and will spend 2021 hiring riders and staff.
"They are going all-in on getting one of the very best teams in women's cycling," Bak told TV2 Sport. "I am responsible for getting the project ready to run from 2022 as a large team on the women's World Tour."
Bak was contacted by the current Uno-X men's team manager Jens Hauglund for the project, and said he will use his connections in pro cycling to find the best staff and riders, saying he must create as good a team as possible.
"I was flattered and excited that Jens contacted me. It will be very new to me and it is as much management as it is cycling," Bak said. "It's a challenge I could not say no to. I think it will be very exciting, and it's a great opportunity."
Although he has no experience with the women's peloton, Bak said he will work to learn the ropes and has good funding from Uno-X. "Whether it is women or men, you want to create the best setting. That's what I'm hired for. That's what the challenge will be - whether I can make it all play out. And then it's clear I've only been a cyclist and employed on a men's team. But I have already talked to someone who has worked with women's teams, and it's still about winning bike races and training hard.
"It must be a top professional team, and we must make a really good team, so there will be some money to work with. They have a lot of capital, and they are full-time people that we have to get hold of, so everything has to be as professional as the men's team."
Bak expects that the team will be based in Belgium along with the men's ProTeam to help facilitate travel.
Uno-X will be the newest major women's team to be created after the formation of the Jumbo-Visma team, set to debut in 2021 with Marianne Vos at the helm. The squad folded in the organisation of the current Parkhotel Valkenburg squad, and will race as a Continental team in 2021 as UCI rules prohibit teams from immediately joining the Women's WorldTour.
Team Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo, Movistar Team, Lotto Soudal, and Mitchelton-Scott are among the men's programmes that have added teams for women in recent years.
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