Le salaire des coureurs cyclistes nord-américains

On peut lire beaucoup de choses sur l'internet relativement au salaire des coureurs cyclistes.

Et sur l'écart entre les salaires payés par les équipes professionnelles européennes de première division et ceux payés en Amérique du nord.

Le débat a repris en fin octobre 2004 alors que l'équipe canadienne Symmetrics de Colombie-Britannique annonçait la signature de contrats par plusieurs nouveaux coureurs.

Voici un extrait de ce qu'on pouvait lire sur le forum du site

Just what do you guys think pro teams in North America pay their riders ?

Do you guys really think that most "pro riders" in North America are paid a decent wage ? Get real. How many guys in North America do you honestly think are making more than 40 000$ per year in salary from their respective teams ? And just what do you think a top rider's salary in North America is ?

Here's a reality check for you. John Wordin created a temporary and superficial spike in racer wages in North America. He had Henk Vogels on a 125 000$ per year contract in 2000. But he never paid Vogels what the contract said. That contract, and Mercury's subsequent meteoric rise, created a spike in wages - most of which were not paid - and probably created a market fluctuation that ended the Saturnteam. Because that team actually paid its contracts.

Gord Fraser, reportedly, signed a 250 000$ per year contract to stay with Mercury. This was only because he had enough UCI points to be getting offers from Europe. So, Wordin had to match offers to keep him. He never paid Gord what his contract said. Nor, of course, we all know this, did he pay anyone what their contracts said.

So, prior to Vogels, a top rider on a North American team made about 70-80 000$ USD per year. Those guys were Frank McCormack and Gord Fraser.

At any given time (in history) you have less then 5 guys in this wage bracket in North America. As a result of Wordin's antics, Saturn had to pay Horner 100 000$, and reportedly, Charles Dionne signed for 60 000$. That lasted 1 year.

Now, we're in a transitional period in pro cycling. Navigators is the top team. And they have historically had riders on contracts for $0.00 per year. Not all, mind you, but the younger guys. Most guys on that team are paid. And this year and maybe last year I wouldn't be surprised if all guys were paid.

Webcor, 2 guys are paid : Dionne and Horner. Period. Horner gets probably less than 50 000$ from Webcor, and he had some wierd deal with Saturn that was for 2 years. But, again rumor has it, Saturn found a loop hole in that contract and ceased payments. So, although Horner should have, in theory, been double dipping, he got flicked.

Healthnet has 3-4 riders who are paid well. Then 2-4 paid probaby around the same as what you are claiming Randell and the Symmetrics guys get paid. Finally they have some guys on 4-5000$ per year. And some guys on NOTHING. NADA. ZIP.

So, end of reality check, pay scales for pros in North America :
70 000$ + : 5 guys
40 - 70 000$ : 10 guys
20 - 40 000$ : 15 guys
10 - 20 000$ : 15 guys
0 - 15 000$ : everyone else

So pro riders making a real wage in North America, less than 30 guys. Do the math : how many pro teams are there now in North America ? 13, 15, more ? How many pro riders then ... 130 to 150 or so ? How many making a real wage ? Maybe 30. And I think that is a pretty optimistic guess.

Does this mean they aren't pro ? Well, not in my books. This is a representation of the market economy. Cycling is still not a top tier sport here, and the reality is that most riders are pro in name only, not on what they take home in wages.

You don't make your decision on what team to ride for based on what they will pay you, you make it based on the quality of the program, and the opportunities that team will provide for you to puddle jump.

You shouldn't diss Symmetrics and Jetfuel for what you think they are and aren't paying their riders, because it ain't so much better south of the border. If any of the guys on those teams were good enough to be commanding the phuking wages you guys are harping on about here, they'd be on Navigators, Collavita Bolla or Healthnet making that bank.

* this analysis doesn't include USPS, who are more driven by european market dynamics
** this analysis doesn't consider what any of these 'so-called' pros might make in prize money in a year.


You want to be on a Division II team in Europe, but the team doesn't really want you to the tune of 40 000$ per year... they like you and all, but they say we won't pay you 40 000$

What do you do ?

You say, hey, I'll pay you 40 000$ to put me on the team. Then the team uses that 40 000$ to pay back that salary. Voilà, you're on a Division II team, paying your own salary. Maybe you find a private sponsor to do this for you, maybe your parents pay it for you. But that is how it's done on smaller Division II teams all the time.

Not every guy mind you. But the marginal riders who'd likely not be there otherwise.

And in Italy it gets a whole lot more corrupt than that. But this kind of thing happens all the time. It's the only way for smaller teams to stay Division II.

You can even be on a european Division II team and essentially be racing for free. Happens all the time.


I never raced pro in Europe. But I raced amateur. Some teams I raced for eventually went pro as Division II and Division III teams respectively. I know pros, here and in Europe. I even call a few pros friends and former team mates.

When I was there, minimum wages were not specified by the UCI, but in fact, by the country, as they still are. You see, in Europe, where cycling is big, and considered a legitimate profession, teams are treated like real businesses. So, in fact, a pro team had to operate like a business and pay its employees at least that nation's minimum employment wage.

So minimum wages for pro cyclists is nothing new. And the backdoor dealings to get around them have been around for as long as the wage regulations.

8 mars 2007

Biking for Bucks

The March issue of Cycle Sport magazine investigates the annual salaries of pro road stars (generally not public knowledge) and comes up with this top 10 (all figures in millions) :

1. Alejandro Valverde, 26, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, $3.8
2. Paolo Bettini, 32, Italy, Quick Step, $3.3
3. Tom Boonen, 26, Belgium, Quick Step, $2.6
4. Alessandro Petacchi, 33, Italy, Milram, $2.2
5. Ivan Basso, 29, Italy, Discovery Channel, $2.0
6. Damiano Cunego, 25, Italy, Lampre-Fondital, $1.8
7. Alexandre Vinokourov, 33, Kazakhstan, Astana, $1.7
8. Robbie McEwen, 34, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, $1.6
9. Erik Zabel, 36, Germany, Milram, $1.6 (
10. Thor Hushovd, 29, Norway, Credit Agricole, $1.3

Greg LeMond's salary when he turned pro for France's Renault team in 1981 : $15,000.

LeMond's salary in his last year with France's Z team, 1992 : $2 million. He is credited with leading the entire pro peloton to higher wages.

Lance Armstrong's earnings in the final year of his career, 2005 : $18 million.

La 10 juillet 2009 le site Internet Capital.fr publiait Salaires des cyclistes : plus d´un million d´euros pour les stars et 30 fois moins pour le peloton, indiquant que pour les coureurs du Pro Tour il y a un minimum fixé, soit 33 00 euros par an.

D'autres chiffres datant de 2011.

En février 2012 l´UCI révélait qu´un coureur membre d´une des 18 équipes de première division touche en 2012 un salaire moyen annuel de 264 000 euro (353, 339$ dollars canadiens). En 2009 il était de 190 000 euros.

Note du webmestre : En complément d'information sur les revenus des cyclistes nord-américains
vous pouvez consulter : Erik Saunders : « QuickStep c´est comme les Yankees ! », 1er novembre 2004

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