People often find it difficult to pursue their passion because of lack of money. If you have been dreaming of a having a career in cycling, you must be looking for the scope of professional cycling.
Cycling is purely your hard work and the money also depends on your cycling ability.
Since the money matters, you must know the average salary in the field of cycling before jumping into full-time professional cycling. Let’s look at how much do professional cyclists make.
Long Grand Cycling Tours
The Three-week long grand tours, exhausting classics, week-long enduring stage races; over 10,000 km racing per year, etc. are just the trailers of life of a professional cyclist.
- Many cyclists would agree that despite a lot of hardship it demands, cycling is on the lower end of the pay scale as against to any other professional sport.
- Sources say that cycling is taken into account and pay is improving. Looking at the present condition, this is what a pro cyclist would earn after all the hardships.
- The UCI regulations do not give the maximum of how much a cyclist should be paid, but they do provide the minimum wages to be paid to the teams clearly.
The UCI World Tour
The UCI world tour launched by ‘Union Cycliste Internationale’ gives a great amount of money to cyclists racing with WorldTour squads. A minimum wage of $2.75 million USD approximately should be given to a pro cyclist participating in this.
- The neo-pros might make little less around $2.23 million USD.
- The Pro Continental squads must pay minimum around $2.30 million USD to their pro riders.
Typically most neo-pros start with minimum wages but the exceptional riders with great success go all above the race in the terms of money too.
If the cyclist wins races at under 23 levels, you go a long way in making money in pro cycling. The pro cyclists are doing well in world championships or won the Tour de l’Avenir make enough money.
The salary could also reach to six figures. But that is not the case with neo-pros; they have to start with the basic salaries set according to UCI regulations.
Structure of Pro Cyclists Salary in Details
The salary in any sport also depends on its difficulty and the amount of time the rider has to stay away from home.
The bicycle domestique racer, who rides for the team and never wins, doesn’t make much money.
However, successful helpers definitely get more money as opposed to the average ones.
- The top or best domestique would earn around $2.80 million USD – $3.04 million USD. So, the rider who plays a supporting role in the winning team would also make a good amount of money.
- The riders topping at the podiums have unsurprisingly exceeding salaries. Their helpers earn big too. The domestique who had a breakthrough win in the race would surely make more than around $2.80 million USD in his next contract.
The salaries can exceed half a million euro per year for those who win races as well as in the podiums at different events such as Flanders.
The bigger opportunity to make more is classic. It will offer more money to riders compared to that of winning a grand tour stage.
Also, the people you win against would make a difference in your next pay. If you win against the best riders, you will have the potential to out-climb others too.
Now the career’s momentum also suggests the amount of salary. If the career of the pro cyclist is on the up and it is on the peak, then this kind of assessment will be deciding the worth of the rider.
In this case, the age of the professional rider would also matter. The young riders are likely to improve as in those in their 20s.
The sprinters also earn high. But to make millions, you have to be really good at winning and giving numerous victories throughout the year.
Now if we go structure wise, the different levels in professional cycling are Pro Team, Pro Continental, and Continental.
1. Pro Tour Rider / Pro Team Rider
These people make a negotiation in salary around $171,200 USD for the next season if he wins the race.
A winner at Vuelta or Giro would be able to make negotiations around $114,150 USD.
The major classics like Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, and Amstel Gold give more opportunity to their riders to make more money in his next race.
This is even greater deal than winning a Grand Tour stage. Winning, at least, one classic can make him negotiate over around $228,300 USD.
So, the rider with good pacing and wins in major races would earn between $342,400 – $684,900 USD.
Extremely good riders will earn anything between $1.14 – 3.42 million USD.
2. Professional Continental Riders
They make around $31,400 USD minimum. The newbies would make like $26,200 USD to $171,200 USD per year is the limit for the good professional continental riders.
The rest of the riders make much less by working so hard.
3. Continental Team Eiders
They do not have minimum salary requirement. Most of the teams do not pay anything to their riders.
Some will pay around $15,100 USD to each pro cyclist while others would pay higher like $37,700 USD to some of their pro cyclists.
Other modes of earning money for a professional rider would be:
- Earning from Endorsements: A pro cyclist will have to sign a contract with a professional team, where he races the company’s bike. Signing up is like being an ambassador of many sponsors of their company. The rider will then have to endorse all the products of the company like nutrition providers, team’s car brand.
The successful pro cyclists can even take up multiple endorsement offers and earn a lot of money.
- Win more, earn more: For professional cyclists, the best way to make money is participating in major events. Once the pro cyclist wins a particular race, the incentives provided by the sponsors will go in cyclist’s pocket. It is generally given for the training of the pro cyclist.
The newbies in professional cycling can earn extra money by working at cycle repair shop, win small local contests, teach cycling to others, This way they can supplement their income by staying in the pro cycling field only.
- Bonuses: The pro riders often have bonuses added in their contract. For the best or top notch riders, the bonuses are decided by their victories and podium finishes in major races. For other riders, the bonuses can be linked depending on their substantial contribution in team’s growth. This way bonuses can make the riders significant amount of money.
For example, the professional cyclist of Lance Armstrong managed to make a bonus of $0.5 million USD.
Summary to Professional Cyclists Earnings
Several means are available, which a professional cyclist can make money. The key to earning more is obviously to ride more.
The more you ride, the more you excel. The ratio for the total earning of cyclists and their winning is 1:1.
They are highly recognized and paid as per the competitions they win.
There must be minimum salaries for female riders also. The rules and standards keep changing.
The situation will get only better in this technologically developing world, where sport like cycling can inspire a lot of people for better health.
Professional cycling definitely has a long way to go in terms of money.