A Challenge to be Accepted.

Last week we released the news about Lars Bak’s appointment for Uno-X Pro Cycling Team. He will be our General Manager Sports when we are joining women’s professional cycling. I am very proud to get Lars onboard. 18 years as a professional. Unexperienced as a DS you say? Well, I believe we have found our leader. Regardless of gender and DS hours in the car (which really didn’t matter to us), he will make a profound impact.

Photo: NTB/Scanpix

The UCI regulations are clear. We are aware of that. No direct step-up to the WWT or the WT. In women’s cycling you have to accept starting as a continental team the first year. In 2021 we will have 19 WT teams and a probable 9 WWT teams. By the way, among the 19 men’s team we have Team INEOS, Astana, GreenEdge and Bahrain. All of them accepted directly to the WorldTour back in the days (and don’t forget about Leopard Trek…).

Now it’s time to bring on some advantages for the women. I fully respect the requirements for an application as a WWT team. They make sense. Minimum wages, insurances, social security expenses etc. This is how it should be, and they are established to secure the structural quality of women’s professional cycling.

Photo credit: Swpix.Com

However, there is a big drawback. Jumbo-Visma (in 2021) and Uno-X (in 2022) are not allowed to enter with a professional women’s team. Well, I speak for Uno-X. We are more than willing to meet all the criteria listed by UCI. We are running a professional system today. Why the wait UCI? Why not accelerate the structure for the female riders as well? Of course, the requirements will have to be met, but why as a continental team first?

In 2020 Boels got ranked 2nd. Equipe Paule Ka 5th. Ceratizit-WNT 7th. None of them WWT. None of them having the requirements regarding minimum wages and social security for the riders. I understand the need to take it step-by-step and I do not blame the teams, but this illustrates a structural weakness. Do not be mistaken, we will establish the team in 2022 regardless of the UCI regulations. We will ensure equality in terms of wages, equipment and other resources. We will not accept to be categorized as a female or a male team. We only accept Uno-X Pro Cycling Team.

Photo: Mario Stiehl

So I suggest we make this simple. If you as a team comply with the UCI requirements you should be able to get into the WWT ballot. Especially when we only have 9 teams in the ballot for next year. It worked for the men’s teams, now it’s about the women.

I need your help to speak up.

Jens Haugland

General Manager

About the Author

Jens Haugland is the General Manager of the Uno-X Pro Cycling Team and CEO of Uno-X Norge AS. Amongst friends and family he is well known for his level of enthusiasm and passion for the sport of cycling. You’ll meet him along the roads in the municipality of Nittedal, his beloved home region, on his custom-built DARE GFE or MR1s bike. You may also find him on Twitter by the name @sykkelsjefen, where he share his day to day thoughts on what’s going on in the world of cycling. He’s 36 years old and has three kids together with Elisabeth.

Photo credit front page: Mario Stiehl

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