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Uno-X aiming for 2022 Tour de France wildcard invitation

TROMSO NORWAY AUGUST 04 Markus Hoelgaard of Norway and UnoX Pro Cycling Team and Teammates during the 8th Arctic Race Of Norway 2021 Team Presentation ArcticRace on August 04 2021 in Tromso Norway Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
Uno-X riders at the 2021 Arctic Race of Norway (Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Norwegian ProTeam Uno-X have announced that they are aiming for a wildcard invite for this year's Tour de France.

The team, which has been part of cycling's ProTeam second division for the past two years, has big ambitions in the sport, and the team has already announced their intention to apply for a WorldTour spot in 2023.

The women's Uno-X squad, which races its debut season in 2022, is already part of the Women's WorldTour and will race the inaugural Tour de France Femmes. However, the men's team – which consists of 21 Norwegians and eight Danes – face a challenge to take the start line when the race kicks off in Copenhagen in July.

With the 18 WorldTour teams automatically invited along with both Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic – the top two spots in the 2021 ProTeam rankings, it means that just two wildcard spots are up for grabs. French squads TotalEnergies and B&B Hotels p/b KTM, both of whom were invited last July, look to be overwhelming favourites to fill those places.

"We have a dream to be on the start line in Copenhagen," general manager Jens Haugland said in an interview with Feltet.dk. "It's not wildly likely, so we have low expectations.

"However, we think we've earned it. All cycling-mad Norwegians and Danes would want to have as many compatriots as possible on the start line in Denmark. A rider like Lasse Norman Hansen, for example, would deserve to ride the prologue in Copenhagen."

The Uno-X team has grown out of the Ringeriks-Kraft Continental squad, serving as a development team along the way, and moving up to ProTeam level for 2020. In recent seasons, several of their riders have made the move up to the WorldTour, including Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma), who finished ninth at the 2021 Giro d'Italia, and the highly rated Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM).

This year, Markus Hoelgaard (Trek-Segafredo), Julias Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Frederik Rodenberg and Jonas Hvideberg (both DSM), and U23 world time trial champion Johan Price-Pejtersen (Bahrain Victorious) have also made the step up.

Uno-X have followed up an impressive 2021 campaign by expanding the team to 29 riders. Three Danes – Hansen, Niklas Eg, and Jonas Gregaard – have been recruited from the WorldTour, while the Norwegian Johannessen twins – including Tobias, the Tour de l'Avenir champion – have moved up from Uno-X's new development squad.

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