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How Much do Pro Cyclists Earn?

How Much do Pro Cyclists Earn?

The world of cycling sees a wide gulf between how much pro cyclists earn and the many many cyclists scraping by at the bottom of the Continental level. Compared to other sports though – like football – cyclists actually still earn relatively ‘normal’ incomes through their sport.

In this article, I’m going to attempt to show some of the known figures for riders across different levels of men’s cycling and the difference in money between men’s and women’s cycling.

2020 saw some changes in pro cycling. The men’s WorldTour stayed the same but the Pro Continental level was renamed the Pro Series. The women’s WorldTour meant something slightly different and there was a women’s Pro Series level of races too for the first time. However, no Pro Continental level for women’s teams. As this post was first written in 2019, the terms used are to reflect the naming conventions that year.

Chris Froome Tour of Britain 2018

Which pro cyclists earn the most?

Now, this isn’t a definitive list. Just like in the real world, not everyone likes to tell people what they earn. As such it’s a list of only the numbers I could actually find and even those may require being taken with a pinch of salt. There are some big names missing from this list like Julian Alaphilippe who signed a new contract at Deceuninck-Quickstep in June 2019 after his excellent Tour de France.

Peter SaganBora-Hansgrohe2018€6 million
Chris FroomeIsrael Start-Up Nation2021€5.5 million
Peter SaganBora-Hansgrohe2020€5 million
Peter SaganBora-Hansgrohe2021€5 million
Tadej PogacarUAE Emirates2021€5 million
Chris FroomeTeam Sky2018€5.3 million
Chris FroomeTeam Ineos2019€5.2 million
Chris FroomeTeam Ineos2019€4.5 million
Chris FroomeTeam Sky2015€4.7 million
Vincenzo NibaliBahrain-Merida2019€4 million
Alberto ContadorTinkoff2015€4 million
Alejandro ValverdeMovistar2019€3.5 million
Mark CavendishEtixx-Quickstep2015€3.5 million
Geraint ThomasTeam Ineos2020€3.5 million
Geraint ThomasTeam Ineos2021€3.5 million
Mark CavendishDimension Data2018€3.4 million
Tom DumoulinTeam Sunweb2019€3 million
Geraint ThomasTeam Ineos2019€3 million
Marcel KittelKatusha2018€3 million
Vincenzo NibaliTrek-Segafredo2021€3 million
Vincenzo NibaliBahrain-Merida2018€2.9 million
Egan BernalTeam Ineos2019€2.8 million
Egan BernalTeam Ineos2021€2.8 million
Egan BernalTeam Ineos2020€2.7 million
Fernando GaviriaUAE Emirates2019€2.7 million
Fabio AruUAE Emirates2020€2.6 million
Greg Van AvermaetCCC2019€2.5 million
Nairo QuintanaMovistar2019€2.5 million
Tom DumoulinJumbo-Visma2019€2.5 million
Michal KwiatkowskiTeam Ineos2020€2.5 million
Michal KiwatkowskiTeam Ineos2021€2.5 million
Julian AlaphilippeQuickstep2020€2.3 million
Julian AlaphilippeQuickstep2021€2.3 million
Alejandro ValverdeMovistar2020€2.2 million
Wout van AertJumbo-Visma2021€2.2 million
Alejandro ValverdeMovistar2021€2.2 million
Richard CarapazTeam Ineos2021€2.2 million
Vincenzo NibaliTrek-Segafredo2020€2.1 million
Vincenzo NibaliTrek-Segafredo2021€2.1 million
Richard CarapazTeam Ineos2020€2.1 million
Filippo GannaTeam Ineos2021€2 million
Nairo QuintanaMovistar2018€2 million
Philippe GilbertBMC2012€2 million
Elia VivianiCofidis2020€2 million
Thibaut PinotFDJ2020€2 million
Thibaut PinotFDJ2021€2 million
Primosz RoglicJumbo-Visma2020€2 million
Primosz RoglicJumbo-Visma2021€2 million
Mathieu van der PoelAlpecin-Fenix2021€2 million
Adam YatesTeam Ineos2021€2 million
Jakob FuglsangAstana-Premier Tech2021€2 million
Romain BardetTeam DSM2021€2 million
Nairo QuintanaArkea-Samsic2020€1.9 million
Nairo QuintanaArkea-Samsic2021€1.9 million
Elia VivianiCofidis2021€1.9 million
Tom DumoulinJumbo-Visma2020€1.8 million
Fernando GaviriaUAE Emirates2020€1.8 million
Fernando GaviriaUAE Emirates2021€1.8 million
Romain BardetAG2R2020€1.7 million
Greg van AvermaetCCC2020€1.6 million
Miguel Angel LopezAstana2020€1.5 million
Simon YatesMitchelton-Scott2020€1.5 million
Marc HirschiUAE-Emirates2021€923k
Annemiek van VleutenMovistar2021€250k
Annemiek van VleutenMitchelton-Scott2020€125k
A variety of sources have been used
2021 numbers come from L’Equipe/Het Nieuwsblad

Prize Money and other incomes

What this table also doesn’t include is the extra money that pro cyclists earn through prize money. I covered all of the teams and riders prize money from the 2019 Tour de France, which showed just how big the payoffs are for winning. It also showed the little money some riders get to supplement their wages after 3 weeks of hard racing.

The prize money for races varies massively. The total prize pot for the men’s Amstel Gold in 2019 was €40k and just €10k for the women’s race. Some races are bucking this trend and offering equal prize money, such as the Tour de Yorkshire. It’s important to note that all of the salaries listed here do not include prize money winnings or endorsements.

Appearance money is another source of income and is rarely openly discussed. Allegedly, Chris Froome received €2 million just to take part in the 2018 Giro d’Italia for instance.

At the end of 2017, it was reported that half of the women’s peloton was earning under €10,000 a year. 17% were earning nothing at all and a touch over 50% also had second jobs to supplement their racing career. At the same point in time, just 11% of women’s riders were earning more than €34,000. An amount that’s comparable to the minimum wage in men’s cycling.

Peter Sagan E3 Harelbeke 2018
Peter Sagan

What do regular pro cyclists earn?

So we’ve seen what the star riders earn, what about the rest?

Well, a WorldTour domestique can earn between €100,000 and €400,000. You’re looking at the likes of Tim Declercq and Julian Vermote in this category (although Vermote’s stock has fallen a bit as of 2021). The guys who don’t necessarily get the glory themselves yet put in a tonne of work to benefit the team. Georg Preidler was reportedly on €170,000 for FDJ during 2017-2018. Tadej Pogacar’s first contract with Team UAE Emirates was supposedly for €70,000 before being quickly redrawn after winning the Tour of the Algarve in his first season.

A super-domestique type rider can earn anywhere between the high-end of that range and the bottom of the table above. Geraint Thomas was reported to be earning €1-1.5 million in 2018, then he won the Tour de France and now finds himself earning €3 million.

Julien Vermote

Pro cyclist minimum wages

At certain levels in the sport of cycling a minimum wage structure appears but below that level riders will potentially be on much less money to race. In 2019, the minimum wage for men’s Pro-Continental level cyclists was €30,855. For the WorldTour that number is €40,045.

There’s been some reasonable progression in these minimum wages since 2013. Back then a Pro-Continental cyclist would get at least €30,250 and a WorldTour rider at least €36,000.
For 2018, the current Pro-Continental minimum wage of €30,855 was introduced and WorldTour riders were now able to get at least €38,115.

Neo-pros at both levels get slightly less. these were set at €25,300 for Pro-Continental neo-pros and €29,370 for WorldTour level neo-pros in 2013. These increased in 2018 to €25,806 at Pro-Conti level and €30,893 for WorldTour level riders. The current numbers are €26,322 and €31,609.

There’s no minimum salary for those racing at Continental level, so some will be receiving an income but plenty won’t be. I wouldn’t expect their salaries to be higher than the neo-pro rates except maybe for high profile riders at that level like a Davide Rebellin or Adam Blythe – even then probably not by much. It’s often thought that 2.2/1.2 races aren’t considered as professional races, so you’ll often hear of a rider taking their first pro win at a higher level.

Marianne Vos

For women, the situation is closer to that of the Continental riders than any other level. Up until now, there has been no minimum wage at all for women cyclists. 2020 will be the first season with a minimum wage, but only for women on the 8 WorldTour teams. For 2020, it will start at €15,000, with plans to then increase it gradually over the next three years.

If things go to plan, the minimum wage will rise to €20,000 in 2021, to €27,500 in 2022 and become equal to Pro Continental men’s teams by 2023. The number of women’s WorldTour teams should also have grown by then too. Now that Boels-Dolmans have confirmed sponsorship until 2023, they should be able to jump to WorldTour status from 2021. There is no official neo-pro status for women but this is also aiming to be introduced in 2023. Full details from the UCI here.

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