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How much do pro cyclists get paid?

I've written a post about this here if you're interested: http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2009/02/pro-team-structure-what-does-it-all-mean/

ProTour (Formerly Division I trade team)

Minimum Salary: $47,000 ($38,000 for neo-pros). That’s not a lot of money for a pro athlete!

Pro Continental (Formerly Division II trade team)

Minimum Salary: $39,000 ($33,750,000 for neo-pros).

Continental (Formerly Division III trade team)

Minimum Salary: None. Many are volunteer bike racers hoping to make it big.

Pro Woman

Minimum Salary: None
Mar 11, 2009
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Like all sports, you see the "winner takes all" aspect when it comes to pay. The very best riders make millions, the team workers can collect the UCI minimum wage.

Here's what the rules (Article 3 or the Pro Tour Contract) say for the minimum wage:
1. The Rider shall have the right to gross annual pay of [....] .This pay may not be less than the higher of the two following amounts:a) The legal minimum wage of the country of the nationality of the UCI ProTeam as defined
under article 2.15.051 of the regulations;
b) € 30,000 (€ 24,000 for a new professional).

People like Valverde, Evans, Boonen, Cunego, Cavendish and other stars will earn millions. Some comes in salary but also from other areas, like endorsement.

But compared to other sports, the pay is not as high. This partly reflects the fact that the TV money is paid to race organisers, not to the teams. Also most team sponsors are relatively small companies. Rabobank and Saxo are small banks, Quick-Step sells laminate flooring and Lampre sells galvanised steel. There is no Intel, BMW, Coca-Cola, Danone, Sony or Samsung sponsoring the sport.
Mar 13, 2009
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I think Pro Cycling had the top 10 about 2 years ago, all were over 1.25 Million Euro, obvious just their opinion, but I suspect there was some foundation. This EXCLUDED private sponsorships
The Galmour riders were the big ones, Sprinters and GC, and I seem to remember that the Northern teams had the big numbers (ie QS and Lotto) in the list. Now Bettini has gone and been replaced by about three quality riders but not "Stars" (still counting Schumacher) and McEwan has gone russian that has probably changed though.
Mar 17, 2009
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In Julian Deering's book, 'Team On The Run', about the Linda McCartney pro tour team, he talks about signing Max Sciandri in 2000, and the salary quoted is around £200,000 a year.

Nice work if you can get it.....
Mar 11, 2009
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The WSJ article is interesting. From a financial perspective, backing a cycling team is like buying a junk bond: it doesn't cost much to get a lot of publicity but there's a reason for this high yield, your investment can blow up if a scandal appears.

That's why strict internal team testing like Garmin do is great, it increases security for the sponsors. It's also why guys like Chavanel can earn millions when others with better results don't collect as much, for during July his face is all over France for free, he's on TV, on the radio and more and this is worth so much to anyone wanting advertising exposure in France.

It's not just about winning races, it's about being able to connect with your target audience that gets you the money.
Mar 18, 2009
From eurosport, during Paris-Nice 2007, Valverde was top payed at 2.7 million (this is euros we're talking here). He had just signed the contract he's now on.

Cunego was at 2.5, Boonen was third at a little over 2 (2.005 or similar). All others were below 1.7. Basso was at 1.5, Bettini also at 1.5 and that's all I can remember
It is odd that there is so little money in the sport of cycling. The top guys are making good money but it is nothing when compared to what athletes make in the big American sports.

I just googled the minimum salary for American football. Here it is:

# Rookies and first-year players $285,000
# Second-year players $360,000
# Third-year $435,000
# Fourth-year $510,000
# Fifth- through seventh-year $595,000
# Eighth- through tenth-year $720,000
# Eleventh-year and longer $820,000

On top of the salaries, the total prize money in the TdF just is not very much. Lots of tennis tournaments give out much more.