The question that arouses the most curiosity among both amateurs and experts in the field of cycling: how much does a professional cyclist earn?

The salary of a professional cyclist varies considerably depending on their category and performance. In the ProTeam category, which is like a second division, the minimum salary is approximately 32,000 euros per year. This is what a rider at the ProTour level would earn, allowing them to live comfortably without needing another job.

On the other hand, in the WorldTour category, the highest in professional cycling, the minimum salary is around 40,000 euros per year. However, salaries can be much higher for top riders in this category, with the likes of Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan earning €5 million a year, and other Team Ineos riders not far off that figure. Thus, although the salary base is relatively modest, top cyclists can achieve significant incomes.

As in other sports, how much a professional cyclist earns is governed by something we will define as income structure.

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Income structure in professional cycling

To understand how much a professional cyclist earns, it is essential to analyze their income structure. This structure is diverse and varies significantly between different riders, depending on factors such as their skill level, experience and popularity.

Below, we detail the main sources of income and how these vary between different cycling disciplines.

Main sources of income

The different sources by which we can break down the income of a professional cyclist are the following.

Team Base Salary

The base salary that a cyclist receives from his team is the pillar of his income. This salary varies depending on the level of the team (WorldTour, Continental Pro, Continental) and the importance of the cyclist within it.

Prizes for competing

Race prize money is a significant part of what a professional cyclist earns. These awards are awarded for victories or outstanding positions in important races and stages.

Bonuses

Many teams offer bonuses to their riders for specific achievements, such as winning a stage in a grand tour or reaching a team goal.

Image and advertising rights

High-profile cyclists often have image rights contracts and can participate in advertising campaigns, which increases their income.

Differences between disciplines (road, track, mountain and BMX)

In addition, there are different types of cycling in which cyclists can compete, depending on the type of discipline, the income will also be different.

Road Cycling – Road cyclists generally have the highest salaries, especially those participating in WorldTour. Grand tours and classics offer substantial prizes.

Track Cycling – Although there may be fewer opportunities to win prize money compared to road cycling, track cyclists often have a stable income provided by their national teams or sponsors.

Mountain Biking – In mountain biking, income can vary widely. Top cyclists in this discipline can earn good income through awards, sponsorships and specialized events.

BMX: Bicycle Motocross is a specialty of cycling that originated in California during the 1970s. It comprises two main categories: BMX Racing, which consists of racing on dirt tracks, and BMX Freestyle, which focuses on performing tricks and maneuvers in urban environments and parks specifically designed for it. In this discipline, the main sources of income come from sponsorships and prizes obtained in various competitions, such as the X Games, world championships or BMX Racing events. Likewise, demonstrations and exhibitions also contribute financially.

Does a male or female professional cyclist earn more?

The debate about how much a professional cyclist earns would not be complete without specifically addressing the female segment of cycling.

Historically, it is true that there has been a notable difference between the incomes of male and female professional cyclists.

While men at the WorldTour level can receive significant salaries, female riders have often received lower salaries and fewer opportunities to compete in events with substantial prize money.

However, the situation is changing. Organizations such as the International Cycling Union (UCI) have begun to implement measures to reduce this pay gap.

For example, in UCI events, prize money for men and women has begun to be standardized, which has contributed to an improvement in the income of female cyclists.

Challenges and advances in women's cycling salaries

One of the key challenges for professional female cyclists is access to sponsorships, which are often more available to male cyclists. However, with growing interest in women's cycling, more brands are starting to sponsor women's teams and events.

Additionally, increased media coverage of women's competitions is helping to improve their visibility and appeal to sponsors.

Another element in favor is that, thanks to organizations such as the UCI, several initiatives have been implemented to promote equity in professional cycling.

This includes creating more high-level women's competitions and including women's races in traditionally men's events. These measures not only offer more opportunities to compete and win prizes, but also increase the visibility of female cyclists and the possibility of earning additional income.

Testimonials and Examples of Success

There are several female cyclists who have managed to stand out not only in sporting terms but also in income, serving as role models and demonstrating the potential of women's cycling.

This is the case of Laura Kenny or Emily Batty, two cyclists with a lot of success.

Becoming a mirror to inspire future generations and to show that women's cycling can be as competitive and exciting as men's cycling.

Impact of technology and social networks

With the rise of social media and digital platforms, professional cyclists have new opportunities to generate income through content creation and interaction with fans.

Generating new sources of income, in addition to traditional contracts with teams and sponsorships.

Cycling globalization

As cycling gains popularity in new regions, opportunities arise to expand the reach of the sport and attract new sponsors and audiences. This could translate into an increase in competition prizes and rider salaries.

Development of new skills and formats

The introduction of new events and racing formats could offer more opportunities for riders to compete and win prizes, which could positively influence their overall income. More competitions, more prizes.

Future predictions for professional cycling

Just as new income opportunities may arise for professional cyclists, the sport must also prepare for new changes that may arise at a societal level.

Greater equality in women's cycling

The trend towards greater gender equality in cycling is expected to continue, which could result in increased earnings for female professional cyclists.

Sustainability and social responsibility

Sustainability and social responsibility initiatives could start to play a bigger role in professional cycling. This could open new avenues of sponsorship and collaborations for cyclists committed to these causes.

Global economic impact

Factors such as the global economy and changes in sports sponsorship could also have a significant impact on how much a professional cyclist earns. Riders and teams may need to adapt to a changing economic landscape.

So how much does a professional cyclist earn?

When reflecting on how much a professional cyclist earns, it is essential to look to the future and consider emerging trends that could influence the income of these athletes.

Now, as we have seen, with social networks there is another showcase for the most ingenious to be able to see their income increased and obtain greater remuneration from this sport.

So, taking into account not only the possible sources of income for a professional cyclist, but also everything that is to come, it is still very difficult to dare to give a figure, but we can feed the myth a little more with these points .

The answer to how much a professional cyclist earns depends on a combination of their base salary, prizes won in competitions, bonuses, and other sources of income such as image and advertising rights.

Some examples of salaries of the best cyclists in the world:

Tadej Pogacar

UAE

€6 million

Chris Froome

Israel Acedemy

€5.5 million

Peter Sagan

Total Energies

€5.5 million

Geraint Thomas

Ineos

€3.5 million

Primoz Roglic

Jumbo Visma

€2.9 million

Thomas Vingegaard

Jumbo Visma

€2.5 million

Egan Bernal

Ineos

€2.8 million

Michal Kwiatkowski

Ineos

€2.5 million

Julien Alaphilippe

Quick Step

€2.3 million

Ricahard Carapaz

EF

€2.2 million

Wot van Aert

Jumbo Visma

€2.2 million

Mathieu van der Poel

Alpecin

€2 million

Remco Evenepoel

Soudal Quick Step

€2 million

Mikel Landa

Soudal Quick Step

€2 million

Enric Mas

Movistar

€1.2 million

Marc Sole

UAE

€1.2 million

Peio Bilbao

Bahrain

€1.2 million

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