Salaries on rise within the Women’s WorldTour but others lag behind

Latest survey reveals growing breach between the Women's WorldTour and lower-tier teams in terms of salary and professionalism.

Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

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Salaries within the Women’s WorldTour are rising, but anyone riding at the lower levels continue to see hard times.

That’s according to the latest survey of the women’s peloton by The Cyclists’ Alliance, an advocacy group that’s been polling the peloton now in its fifth year.

In 2022, the numbers of WorldTour teams expanded from nine to 14, meaning more riders are eligible for the UCI mandatory minimum salary.

The survey revealed that more riders than ever are earning salaries ranging from €60,000 per season and above.

“Our survey demonstrated that many riders are paid significantly more than the minimum requirement regulated by the UCI,” the survey said. “13 percent of WWT riders stated they earned over €100K+ per year (an 11 percent increase YoY) and 24 percent of WWT riders earning between 60,000 – 100,000 euros per year (a 17 percent increase YoY).”

Things are bleaker for riders on secondary teams.

The survey revealed that only 15 percent of riders outside the Women’s WorldTour receive an annual salary of €20,000 or more, and 23 percent of riders on Continental teams did not receive any income.

“There were athletes racing this year’s Tour de France Femmes who received no salary from their team racing against riders earning a triple-figure salary,” the report stated. “The wage disparity gap between the two tiers continues to widen each year.

“The UCI should consider solutions to mitigate. ‘Financial reasons’ remains the main reason for leaving the sport of professional cycling earlier than planned for female cyclists.”

The survey also revealed that longer-term contracts are on the rise, and that 81 of women’s WorldTour riders are now using agents to negotiate contract details, with only 24 percent among Continental riders.

“[The] survey demonstrates progress for riders in the Women’s World Tour in improved working conditions and economic prospects, but more needs to be done for Continental riders,” the report stated.

Click here to read the full report.

The survey included responses from 124 professional cyclists, from road to mountain bike, track, and BMX, with nearly half of survey participants coming from the Women’s WorldTour.

Barely half of the riders surveyed confirmed that cycling is their only source of income.

Professional female cyclists are very well educated. According to the survey, nearly half of the participants hold college or university degrees, and about one-quarter have masters or post-graduate degrees.

The survey also revealed that riders are happier with improving salaries and more professionalism within the ranks, with 73 percent saying they’re “very happy” or “happy” with their careers.

“Reasons cited by riders in the survey demonstrate increasing professionalism of teams through rider-focused initiatives such as professional training camps, including the addition of altitude training, media training, race analysis, and tactical skill development, specialist staff hires such as nutritionists and mental coaches,” the report said.

Still, 11 percent of riders are “unhappy or very unhappy” in their respective teams, citing poor management team and pressured into situations they feel uncomfortable with, the report said.

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