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Uno-X to apply for WorldTour in 2023 and Women's WorldTour in 2022

HARELBEKE BELGIUM MARCH 26 Anders Skaarseth of Norway and UNO X Pro Cycling Team during the 64th E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2021 a 2039km race from Harelbeke to Harelbeke E3SaxobankClassic on March 26 2021 in Harelbeke Belgium Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Uno-X at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Norwegian team Uno-X have announced that they will be applying for a spot in the men's WorldTour from the 2023 season and for the Women's WordTour in 2022.

The squad, which started out as Ringeriks-Kraft in 2010, moved from the Continental ranks to second division ProTeam status in 2020 and will now be looking to take the next step up in two seasons' time. If successful, they would be the first Norwegian WorldTour team.

An Uno-X women's team will start racing next season under the management of ex-pro Lars Bak, with the squad hoping to join the top division of women's cycling next season. Currently there are nine Women's WorldTour teams, but there is space for up to 15 for 2022, with newly founded squads such as Uno-X or Cofidis able to apply for a spot upon their foundation.

"We are starting a new chapter for Uno-X," team general manager Jens Haugland wrote in a press release. "Our fundament will not change. Our philosophy will not change. Our identity will not change.

"Our story – Chapter 3: Uno-X will apply for the UCI WorldTour-license for women from 2022. Chapter 4: Uno-X will apply for the UCI WorldTour-license for both women and men from 2023 and onwards."

Referring to Dutch football team Ajax and their youth development model, Haugland wrote that the team would continue to pursue the same ethos, rather than sign star riders as they look to move up to the WorldTour.

"Our 'Ajax-model' will continue its development. We won’t aim for the highest salaries, but we will aim for a team devoted to the mission of representing something unique. When riders want to move on, we will support them. When riders want to stay, we will guide them. That is our DNA."

In recent years Andreas Leknessund and Tobias Foss have graduated from the squad to WorldTour teams. Leknessund moved to Team DSM this season after winning the Giro della Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia last season, while 2019 Tour de l'Avenir champion Foss is in his second year at Jumbo-Visma, finishing ninth at the Giro d'Italia earlier this season.

The team have enjoyed a successful season so far in 2021, having taken five wins and animated several spring Classics. Last week, Rasmus Tiller won Dwars door het Hageland and took second at Le Samyn in March. Markus Hoelgaard finished eighth at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, while both Anthon Charmig and Anders Halland Johannessen finished in the top 10 at the Tour of Turkey.

Five members of the squad are currently competing at the U23 Giro d'Italia, with Haaland Johannessen lying eighth overall after eight stages while brother Tobias is in second place.