The Norwegian ProTour team Uno-X Pro Cycling Team is one of those cycling teams that holds a special place in the hearts of many cycling fans and followers, whether consciously or unconsciously. This is mainly due to the fact that the team often makes life difficult for top-level teams, or the fact that the team adheres to a symbolic and beautiful philosophy with only Scandinavian riders. During the Baloise Belgium Tour, IDLProCycling.com spoke with Alexander Kristoff and Rasmus Tiller, two key riders in Uno-X's Tour de France selection.
Whatever happens in the three-week stage race, July 1st, 2023, will undoubtedly go down in history as a particularly memorable day for Uno-X. Because it will be the first time that the team participates in the Tour de France, which starts in the Basque Country. "The tickets have been booked. We will arrive in Bilbao on June 27th, after an intense weekend with the national championships," the team, primarily sponsored by a chain of gas stations, announced in a statement at the end of May. On Tuesday, Uno-X announced the team for the Tour de France, with Kristoff, Tiller and Tobias Halland Johanessen as the key riders. Jonas Gregaard, Torstein Træen, Jonas Abrahamsen, Anthon Charmig and Søren Wærenskjold will also represent the Scandinavian team in the Tour.
Kristoff solely focused on stage win in Tour de France and hopes to arrive in good form for the World Championships, just like in 2022
In the same press release, CEO Jens Haugland stated that Kristoff, a four-time stage winner in 'La Grande Boucle', will be the team's leading figure in the world's biggest cycling event. "He is our captain, the king of Stavanger," they sounded adamant. In an interview with this website, the multiple cycling monument winner first looks back on the opening months and the spring classics of 2023, in which he managed to win once (in the overture of the Tour of the Algarve). "Honestly, I had hoped for slightly better results. But, of course, I am also getting older, so it's getting harder and harder for me," said the friendly giant with a smile.
"Look, I'm not necessarily dissatisfied with my spring season either," the number four of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad brings some nuance to his previous statement. "On the other hand, you always hope that you will become as good as before. Let's say that I am reasonably satisfied," says Kristoff, who secured his second victory of the season in the Tour of Norway in May and ultimately finished the Baloise Belgium Tour with three top-five finishes.
Despite the fact that he can digest a hill pretty well as a sprinter, Kristoff has not been the type of rider to compete for the green jersey at the Tour de France in recent years. That will be no different in 2023 as he states that winning a stage is his highest priority. "And hopefully, I can come out of the Tour in great shape, just like last year. The course of the Cycling World Championships in Glasgow suits me well, so hopefully, that will happen again," he refers to his sixth-place finish in the Wollongong World Championships, won by Remco Evenepoel.
Tiller not entirely satisfied with spring season but hopes to carry forward his recent form to the Tour de France
All in all, Uno-X is bringing a strong team to Bilbao. It is clear that strong riders (in the making) such as Wærenskjold (winner of the time trial in Belgium) and Halland Johannessen will also travel to Spain. Norwegian champion Tiller will also be present in the three-week race. The 26-year-old rider also took some time for a chat with IDLProCycling.com. The man from Trondheim also looks back on his spring season with mixed feelings. "There were many ups and downs. But in the past month and a half, I have been feeling good again," he indirectly refers to his victory in Dwars door het Hageland.
"Hopefully, I can carry forward that acquired form to the upcoming races," says Tiller, who also mentions that his victory in Hageland has given him a significant boost in confidence. "It was nice to win again. My last victory before that was the national championship (on June 26th, 2022, ed.)." If Tiller indeed participates in the race through France (and Spain), he expects his job description to be 'stage hunter on duty'. "And perhaps a supporting role in the sprint stages here and there."