By the shores of the Spanish sea, resplendent in their red and yellow jerseys, the riders of Uno-X Pro Cycling posed for the camera at a training camp. Team camaraderie seemed strong just a month into its existence, with riders talking of a family-like atmosphere forged during an earlier team-building weekend in Norway.
In one of several initiatives marking Uno-X’s innovative nature, the team is not funded by cycling’s traditional sponsorship model; rather, it acts as an extension of Uno-X’s own marketing and branding, built directly into the wider company.
Uno-X, the company, began life as a chain of fuel stations throughout Norway and Denmark though, in light of the climate crisis, it is now also investing in hydrogen energy.
Indeed, the first iteration of Uno-X cycling, a men’s Continental team established in 2017, was named the Uno-X Hydrogen Development Team. In 2020, this team made the step to the second-tier Pro Division. The newly-formed women’s team will begin their first season as members of the Women’s WorldTour.
Displaying their ambition, Uno-X have recruited smartly when assembling their women’s team, opting for a balance of youth and experience. Hannah Barnes, Suzanne Andersen, World Hour-Record holder Joss Lowden, and Olympic champion Elinor Barker in particular, are eye-catching signings, and Cyclingnews has spoken to all four riders in recent one-on-one interviews.
Barnes and Andersen have spoken about their desire to target the Classics, while Lowden’s aims lie in stage races and the hillier one-day races. They will be joined by young riders such as Anne Dorthe Ysland, Amalie Lutro and Anniina Ahtosalo. Lars Bak, a stage winner at the 2012 Giro d’Italia, will oversee the team.
In their first season Uno-X will aim to fulfil these racing aims, but, according to their General Manager Jens Haugland, of more importance will be the creation of a supportive team environment, capable of long term success.
To this end, from the project’s inception Haugland announced that the minimum salary for the women would be set at or above the same level as the men’s ProTeams.
According to current UCI regulations, the minimum wage for the Women’s WorldTour is €20,000, whereas for the men’s ProTeams it is €32,102. Haugland’s announcement, then, guarantees equal pay for all his riders, despite UCI regulations.
Already, too, Uno-X’s progressive maternity leave structures have garnered praise as the team honoured Elinor Barker’s contract following her pregnancy announcement. She will be fully supported as she aims to return to racing in 2023.
Fostering an equal, inclusive environment that coalesces into a cohesive unit on the bike forms the heart of Uno-X, and it remains to be seen how this ethos will shape the results they accumulate throughout the season.
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