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  1. #1
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    What the top Pro's earn

    This question comes up every once in a while. RBR provided these figures in their newletter today. Guess these are only salaries and do not include endorsements etc, (except I would think that Armstong's $ does include those)

    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 (2.6 euros)
    2. Paolo Bettini, 32, Italy, Quick Step, $3.3 (2.5 euros)
    3. Tom Boonen, 26, Belgium, Quick Step, $2.6 (2.0 euros)
    4. Alessandro Petacchi, 33, Italy, Milram, $2.2 (1.7 euros)
    5. Ivan Basso, 29, Italy, Discovery Channel, $2.0 (1.5 euros)
    6. Damiano Cunego, 25, Italy, Lampre-Fondital, $1.8 (1.4 euros)
    7. Alexandre Vinokourov, 33, Kazakhstan, Astana, $1.7 (1.3 euros)
    8. Robbie McEwen, 34, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, $1.6 (1.2 euros)
    9. Erik Zabel, 36, Germany, Milram, $1.6 (1.2 euros)
    10. Thor Hushovd, 29, Norway, Credit Agricole, $1.3 (1.0 euros)

    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.

  2. #2
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
    This question comes up every once in a while. RBR provided these figures in their newletter today. Guess these are only salaries and do not include endorsements etc, (except I would think that Armstong's $ does include those)

    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 (2.6 euros)
    2. Paolo Bettini, 32, Italy, Quick Step, $3.3 (2.5 euros)
    3. Tom Boonen, 26, Belgium, Quick Step, $2.6 (2.0 euros)
    4. Alessandro Petacchi, 33, Italy, Milram, $2.2 (1.7 euros)
    5. Ivan Basso, 29, Italy, Discovery Channel, $2.0 (1.5 euros)
    6. Damiano Cunego, 25, Italy, Lampre-Fondital, $1.8 (1.4 euros)
    7. Alexandre Vinokourov, 33, Kazakhstan, Astana, $1.7 (1.3 euros)
    8. Robbie McEwen, 34, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, $1.6 (1.2 euros)
    9. Erik Zabel, 36, Germany, Milram, $1.6 (1.2 euros)
    10. Thor Hushovd, 29, Norway, Credit Agricole, $1.3 (1.0 euros)

    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.
    Which is why the list is clearly flawed. LA wasn't paid 18 million bucks from Tailwind/USPS/Discovery. Most of that money came from endorsements.

  3. #3
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    You've got to wonder how much more talent cycling would draw if the money was bigger for most of the riders.

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    Up and comer pelotonracer's Avatar
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    What does a domestique on a ProTour team make? Maybe $100k US? On a Continental team maybe $50k?

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    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Art. 10
    The cyclist shall be entitled to a fixed remuneration, the annual minimum
    gross amount of which shall be fixed as follows (in euros):
    2002 2003 2004
    New professional According to 15 000€ 20 000€
    Other UCI Regulations 18 000€ 23 000€
    The minimum remuneration fixed for the year 2004 shall remain
    applicable after the expiry of this agreement, unless a new agreement
    is concluded.
    In particular situations and in the interest of the development of
    cycling, the Professional Cycling Council (known by the French
    acronym CCP) may decide exemptions on the joint proposal of the
    signatories of this agreement.
    http://www.uci.ch/english/about/rules_2004/ch01acc.pdf

  6. #6
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelotonracer
    What does a domestique on a ProTour team make? Maybe $100k US? On a Continental team maybe $50k?
    IIRC the minimum wage for a PT team was 30K. Might have gone up to 35K this year.

  7. #7
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I don't believe Lance's salary from Discovery ever topped $5-$6 million. That $18 million figure probably includes endorsement deal money from companies from Nike to Giro, etc. Regardless, you only have 10 or so pros who command $1 million + annually. That is the AVERAGE salary in pro baseball. Oh well.

    Had Lance been a baseball player, I'd guess he would have been good for $30 million annually in salary. PLUS endorsement $. Still, he wound up being one of the highest earning athletes on the globe regardless. Which speaks to his remarkable accomplishments and marketability, EPO, no EPO, whatever. Pro bike racing is friggin NOWHERE in terms of global marketability compared to sports like soccer, F1 racing, American baseball/football, etc. Lance really was the first pro bike racing figure to TRANSCEND THE SPORT. And that's what makes him so notable.

    There aren't any OTHER bike racers who are household names on this planet, including Mr. Merckx. So in that sense, Lance far superceded anything The Cannibal ever accomplished. I'm sure Eddy would be sitting here nodding in agreement with a big smile on his face, secure in the knowledge that he's still the best bike racer ever.

    We're talking the business side of the sport here. Take the 'but Merckx was the greatest' arguments to some other thread.

  8. #8
    Senior Member classic1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
    You've got to wonder how much more talent cycling would draw if the money was bigger for most of the riders.
    None. No one becomes a pro bike rider for the money alone. The sport is too hard for it to be otherwise.

  9. #9
    Senior Member classic1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    Pro bike racing is friggin NOWHERE in terms of global marketability compared to sports like soccer, F1 racing, American baseball/football, etc. .
    it may surprise you, but hardly anyone outside the US gives two shts about baseball or American football.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Re Armstrong. I think that is why the list has his figure shown as "earnings" while the others are listed as "salaries." Botto, would that make you more inclined to think that the list is not flawed?

  11. #11
    . Namenda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classic1
    it may surprise you, but hardly anyone outside the US gives two shts about baseball or American football.

    Yeah, too busy watching soccer and cricket...

  12. #12
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    The NFL is the most profitable sporting agency in the world. They must do something right. But the NFL's business model probably wouldn't work in pro cycling

  13. #13
    . Namenda's Avatar
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    If cycling were to model itself after the NFL ideal, I believe Graeme Brown would be a number one draft pick.

  14. #14
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    I've heard a lot of talk of second contracts that are 'black.' Riders sign on to teams signing for the minimum contract, then sign a second secret contract that agrees to a lesser salary. Not pretty.

  15. #15
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classic1
    None. No one becomes a pro bike rider for the money alone. The sport is too hard for it to be otherwise.
    You think?

    I don't know - I think there a whole lot of talented people who never get into cycling because it doesn't have the glamor associated with other sports.

    For example, there are a lot of extremely talented runners who could also be excellent cyclists. Primarily I suppose that this is because running is more accessible, as all you need is a pair of shoes. However, I also tend to think that because running is a 'glory' sport - e.g. there are strong programs from junior high to Olympic development. Along with this goes the promise of fame and fortune. Again, in recent years here in the states Armstrong has changed a bit of this, but not much.

    Or football, American or otherwise. There are lots of VO2 monsters with sky high pain thresholds among strong running backs and the like in American Football and Footballers in general. Why do they never get into cycling? Why, for many reasons - but not the least of which would be the paychecks available. Talented kids are drawn into sports at a very young age, and lets face it, a lot of parents see dollar signs...

  16. #16
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classic1
    it may surprise you, but hardly anyone outside the US gives two shts about baseball or American football.
    Perhaps, but we are talking MONEY here. The dough in those sports is still massive in the global sports scheme. I don't know who cares about bicycle racing, but if the revenues in the sport are any indication, not as many as the weenies here would like to believe. Even accounting for the lack of ticket sales in cycling, I'm convinced the boneheaded doping witch hunt is choking off sponsor money and the all important TV ratings, and that salaries and team budgets would be 20%+ higher (at least) with a more tactful and business saavy approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nitropowered
    The NFL is the most profitable sporting agency in the world. They must do something right. But the NFL's business model probably wouldn't work in pro cycling

    None of those models would work for cycling.

    And for better or worse I don't think we will ever see cycling the same way as the other big time sports.

    Look at all the big name sports. Football, soccer, baseball, nascar. What is one thing they all have in commmon? They are all arena sports. THIS is the major factor in bringing in revenues and allowing for huge salaries.

    They are carried out in a controlled small space. Easier to broadcast. Also makes it cheaper to broadcast.

    but MOST important. Arena sports allow for tickets to be sold. Let's take a football example. My home team, the baltimore ravens plays in a stadium that seats 70,107. For the 2006 season the average ticket price was $62.09.

    That's roughly 4.4 MILLION per game. I think they had 10 home games last year. So 44 MILLION dollars for a season. And that is just ticket sales. Not all the food, beer etc eaten. And that doesn't include the advertising money etc.

    The TDF may pull a ton of spectators along the roads every year. And they surely generate some revenue for the local areas they are in. But the cost/revenue is nowhere near a sport that is contained within a stadium.

    -D

  18. #18
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinky
    I've heard a lot of talk of second contracts that are 'black.' Riders sign on to teams signing for the minimum contract, then sign a second secret contract that agrees to a lesser salary. Not pretty.
    depressing, for sure
    Is trick from science!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Stallionforce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    None of those models would work for cycling.

    And for better or worse I don't think we will ever see cycling the same way as the other big time sports.

    Look at all the big name sports. Football, soccer, baseball, nascar. What is one thing they all have in commmon? They are all arena sports. THIS is the major factor in bringing in revenues and allowing for huge salaries.

    They are carried out in a controlled small space. Easier to broadcast. Also makes it cheaper to broadcast.

    but MOST important. Arena sports allow for tickets to be sold. Let's take a football example. My home team, the baltimore ravens plays in a stadium that seats 70,107. For the 2006 season the average ticket price was $62.09.

    That's roughly 4.4 MILLION per game. I think they had 10 home games last year. So 44 MILLION dollars for a season. And that is just ticket sales. Not all the food, beer etc eaten. And that doesn't include the advertising money etc.

    The TDF may pull a ton of spectators along the roads every year. And they surely generate some revenue for the local areas they are in. But the cost/revenue is nowhere near a sport that is contained within a stadium.

    -D

    Parking dude. You forgot parking. It's an INSANE revenue-maker for these teams. I remember pre-salary cap days in the NHL, some teams had a huge advantage because they owned the parking, whereas others it was owned privately, or through the municipalities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stallionforce
    Parking dude. You forgot parking. It's an INSANE revenue-maker for these teams. I remember pre-salary cap days in the NHL, some teams had a huge advantage because they owned the parking, whereas others it was owned privately, or through the municipalities.

    True,

    Bottom line is these sports are practically built around revenue. Cycling is a sport built around the sport.

    -D

  21. #21
    Senior Member classic1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    Perhaps, but we are talking MONEY here. The dough in those sports is still massive in the global sports scheme. I don't know who cares about bicycle racing, but if the revenues in the sport are any indication, not as many as the weenies here would like to believe. Even accounting for the lack of ticket sales in cycling, I'm convinced the boneheaded doping witch hunt is choking off sponsor money and the all important TV ratings, and that salaries and team budgets would be 20%+ higher (at least) with a more tactful and business saavy approach.
    Of course NFL is big money. Its the one of if not the most popular sport in the worlds richest country. Its still boring as batsht and a non-event almost everywhere else. Which is exactly what most Americans say about cycling.

    I agree what your saying about about cycling sponsors. What pisses me off though isn't the attempt to elimanate doping. Its the hypocrisy of the media, polititians etc that cycling has it bad and sports like tennis, soccer, and even athletics to a big degree don't. How come those sports get off scott free? $$$$$ is why. Operation Puerto anyone? Who were the other 150 non-cycling athletes?

  22. #22
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classic1
    it may surprise you, but hardly anyone outside the US gives two shts about baseball or American football.
    sorry mate, but incorrect.

  23. #23
    Senior Member classic1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    sorry mate, but incorrect.
    What, Cuba and Japan? That would be about it.

  24. #24
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classic1
    What, Cuba and Japan? That would be about it.
    Back to your crock hunting and boomeranging you silly Aussie.

  25. #25
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitropowered
    The NFL is the most profitable sporting agency in the world. They must do something right. But the NFL's business model probably wouldn't work in pro cycling
    Correct. Because attending a pro bike race as a fan is free. And there are no stadiums. And there are no luxury suites.

    And unlike football players, bike racers will actually talk to the fans.
    "Nothing is so typical of middling minds than to harp on the intellectual deficiencies of the slightly less smart, but considerably more successful."
    Bret Stephens, WSJ

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