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View Poll Results: What is a Pro cyclist - multiple choice, public
USAC license says pro
37.50%
UCI license says pro
47.92%
Gets stuff, travel, races for free
12.50%
Nets a profit from cycling
18.75%
Cycling is the only job they have
25.00%
Can feed a family/buy house with racing job
16.67%
Very serious Cat 1 racer that does PRT races
6.25%
Rides for a Pro team invited to pro tour (UCI-any) events
33.33%
Has a team salary
47.92%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

What is a Pro Racer?

Old 04-22-17, 03:37 PM
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Doge
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What is a Pro Racer?

I was talking to a collegiate coach last week that said about 1/3 of his kids wanted to go pro. I was a bit surprised and he pointed out lots of pros are paying low fees to ride and be pro. Junior growing up we had the bar more as something that was a job/career, full time vocation. Clearly many don't think that.

I get so many different answers at races. Feel free to add your own.

Last edited by Doge; 04-22-17 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 04-22-17, 04:10 PM
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You're 'pro' if Strava thinks you're a pro (OK, not really, but I want the cool badge). Showing up on ProCyclingStats is also a pretty good sign.

More seriously, there are definitely different levels of pro. I feel the poll is kind of off because its more a question of levels, for example:

- Cycling is the only job they have
- Nets a profit from cycling (assuming race winnings)
- Has a team salary (assuming implies 'nets a profit', which isn't necessarily true)
- Can feed a family/buy house with racing job

Somewhere in there is an inflection where more people would consider you pro. There are also some options which are unequivocally pro (IMO), like "rides for a Pro team invited to pro tour (UCI-any) events."

It's funny, compared to running, defining what being a 'pro' is in cycling is a lot less nebulous (in running we tend to argue about the distinction between 'sub-elite' and 'sub-sub-elite' even, not even kidding), though still difficult.
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Old 04-22-17, 04:42 PM
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You're not a pro unless you're on a registered pro team.

You may or may not make a living as a pro, and there are certainly levels of pro (protour, continental, even the pay-to-play teams, etc), but being on a professional team is pretty much all there is to it.

A cat 1 is never considered a pro. Ever.
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Old 04-22-17, 04:48 PM
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Is a boxing towel-boy a pro? Perhaps jumping into the ring as a sparing partner once in a while.

It would seem to me that in cycling there would be a number of non-racers that get paid a team salary to ride a bike.

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Old 04-22-17, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
You're not a pro unless you're on a registered pro team.

You may or may not make a living as a pro, and there are certainly levels of pro (protour, continental, even the pay-to-play teams, etc), but being on a professional team is pretty much all there is to it.


A cat 1 is never considered a pro. Ever.
especially these days.
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Old 04-22-17, 06:04 PM
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It is easier to identify a non-pro. Forgot where I heard it but it resonates - If you pay for anything cycling related, ever...you are not a pro.
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Old 04-22-17, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Da Reef View Post
It is easier to identify a non-pro. Forgot where I heard it but it resonates - If you pay for anything cycling related, ever...you are not a pro.
don't tell that to the cross pros who buy their own FMB tires.
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Old 04-22-17, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by scheibo View Post
...Showing up on ProCyclingStats is also a pretty good sign.
...
As a non-junior. I love that site.
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Old 04-22-17, 07:52 PM
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Technically if you have a pro license then you're a pro.

But from a "living wages" point of view I'd take a different view. Someone somewhere said once that "if you can't pay your mortgage/rent with your salary you're not a pro". If you work some other job then you're not a pro.

I think the riders that raced for, say, Roto Rooter back in the day would protest. They were actual Roto Rooters off season, made some money, but during the season they just raced bikes.

But if the only thing you do is race bikes, then, yes, you're definitely earning a living from your racing. If you're coaching or wrenching or whatever then although you may be a pro cyclist, you're not earning your living from your racing.

Around here I imagine it would take about $35k salary to be able to rent a cheap place, buy food, pay utilities, so that would be my definition of a minimum salary. $50k, for sure a pro.
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Old 04-22-17, 08:10 PM
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If you receive a paycheck for your racing (regular salaried paycheck, not winnings), I'd call that pro. Someone is paying you to race. And by paying you, I don't mean reimbursing some of your race fees @radishlegs or giving you free swag/gear (sponsorship is different than employment but if someone is paying you to ride their **** - not just giving it to you but straight up paying you to put your but on it - that's a good indicator of being pro but it isn't a requirement for it and doesn't absolutely mean you are a pro), but actually paying you to be on a team and show up to race for them. I guess, maybe I'd call you semipro if you didn't make enough to live on but were receiving an actual salary, but I probably usually wouldn't make that distinction.
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Old 04-22-17, 08:20 PM
  #11  
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But Hime, what if that payment is $150 a month? Sure, you're being paid to race for a team and show up to events, but that "paycheck" isn't a living wage.

(I'm using $150 because I know a guy getting just that.)
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Old 04-22-17, 08:26 PM
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Hey doge, what about a former domestic and UCI pro, that meets at least one stated 'pro' criteria, who works for a living and collects a paycheck from his side gig as a strava racer. Pro or no?

/transparent af


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Old 04-22-17, 10:36 PM
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He was a pro, and is until his UCI license expires he is - or that was Dec 31 2016. Now he is using his name to build a business. That is an entertainment pro. He is no longer a pro cyclist IMO, although he could be if he had chosen not to retire. As I posted before, if you can't even ride UCI or USAC mass start bike, I don't see how you could be any "racer"/pro. He is now a rec rider and entertainment personality - and he says that.

My "pro" standard was a bit higher, but I'm open to change.

My view of pro is it is a job with a future path (being dad like here). Like any job, it is good to enjoy what you do. Also like any job, it should offer something beyond the immediate pay check.
Cycling can do that, but it is pretty hard. Of the current batch of recent USA juniors I think Adrian and Brandon made good choices.

Unfortunately if is difficult to know how good anyone can/could be until near 25 with peaks near 30. So the rider has to ask themselves if they feel lucky.

Last edited by Doge; 04-22-17 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 04-23-17, 06:01 AM
  #14  
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Apologies for the PG interruption. We now return to our scheduled fantasy programming rhetoric already in progress.

In fairness to everyone else who answered honestly. When you get called up from AAA you are a pro. In more than a few cases AA due to taking up the sport later. The last "A" absolves those who's success sees them referred to as a pro the rest of their life or longer.


Age - No such thing as a junior pro.

Amateur - No such thing as an amateur pro.

Active - No such thing as an inactive pro.
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Old 04-23-17, 06:33 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I think the riders that raced for, say, Roto Rooter back in the day would protest. They were actual Roto Rooters off season, made some money, but during the season they just raced bikes.
.
There was a guy that rode for USPS who actually worked for USPS, too. Kenny Labbe, I think? He just raced US races and no one really seemed to take him seriously, and then he was a mailman the rest of the time. Thought it was a cool gig, though.
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Old 04-23-17, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There was a guy that rode for USPS who actually worked for USPS, too. Kenny Labbe, I think? He just raced US races and no one really seemed to take him seriously, and then he was a mailman the rest of the time. Thought it was a cool gig, though.
Totally.
I think I mentioned it before, but there is a military (USAF) program where it is the job of the athlete to train and compete for their sport. There are a few handful of sports that qualify.
So a rider might get assigned to watch over a generally non-eventful location, also suitable for training. If they are called into action that plan is over, otherwise their job is to train and compete.
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Old 04-23-17, 09:27 AM
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I don't really think living wage is a valid threshold. In the not too distant past it was normal for Pro Football, Baseball players to have side jobs and off season jobs to make ends meet. Still is common at most minor league levels.

They were still competing at the Professional level, they were the Pro's of their day.

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Old 04-23-17, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
As I posted before, if you can't even ride UCI or USAC mass start bike, I don't see how you could be any "racer"/pro.



*cough
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Old 04-23-17, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by miyata man View Post



*cough
At the time that was done - that was allowed.
In your video post, at the time that was done (or ever) that (removing a brake) was not allowed.
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Old 04-23-17, 10:26 AM
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If we're using "living wage" as the definition, scratch out most of the women's field and a good chunk of the men, too.

Hell, Mara Abbott said part of the reason she retired was that she got sick of having to work part time to make ends meet. The same woman that took 4th in the Olympics and won the women's version of the Giro.

A woman who goes to school with me races for a Women's WorldTour team. We ride together a couple times a week, I built her a mountain bike, she's come over for dinner, etc. First year at that level, and she's young, but from what I gather her paycheck is hardly impressive.
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Old 04-23-17, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
But Hime, what if that payment is $150 a month? Sure, you're being paid to race for a team and show up to events, but that "paycheck" isn't a living wage.

(I'm using $150 because I know a guy getting just that.)
I get what you're saying, but, since I teach at a college, that's where my mind is. If you've ever received money to compete in a sport, you're not supposed to be an NCAA athlete in that sport because you've given up your amateur status (leaving aside whether or not college athletes that bring in tens of billions of dollars to the college industrial complex each year should get paid for another day). If you've given up your amateur status, to me that means you must be a professional. I personally would draw that line at prize money being OK (the NCAA probably would not - gold medals yes, straight up cash no - but I'm not those corrupt bastards), so that's why I said receiving a salary for racing. It can be a very gray area or a fuzzy line though, so I see how many people have other definitions and making a living is a fair rule as well, but, as said above, it does rule out minor leaguers and many/most women. Also, most "pro" beach volleyball players need something else to make a living and yet their association, the AVP, had professional right there in its name. I'm sure many other sports are similar.

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Old 04-23-17, 10:56 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
At the time that was done - that was allowed.
For a man who made a career of being met at the finish line with a new set of rules disqualifying his latest effort that is hardly the case. You are being specious, as always in these incessant attempts at legitimizing virtual opinions.

ta-ta
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Old 04-23-17, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by miyata man View Post
For a man who made a career of being met at the finish line with a new set of rules disqualifying his latest effort that is hardly the case. You are being specious, as always in these incessant attempts at legitimizing virtual opinions.

ta-ta
Specious, would be posting an un-realated bike/event to road racing and suggesting it applies to road racing. I don't know why you would post it in a road racing forum.

In the video you introduced a picture of a self labeled ex-pro is riding a bike that is not legal in any road racing event anywhere, in the last modern racing decades. It is not a pro bike, as the track bike is not a pro road racing bike.

Maybe this is a little late to clarify, but when I made a thread about what is a pro, I assumed posting under road racing meant it was clear I meant a professional road racer / one who races on a mass start legal RR bicycle as a professional.
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Old 04-23-17, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
If we're using "living wage" as the definition, scratch out most of the women's field and a good chunk of the men, too.
...
I would. I'm hung up on the profession part. A professional plumber does not say how skilled they are, it says what they do to pay the bills. Some amateurs are better than some pros. So I do tie the definition to money to some degree.

Certainly a sport being an Olympic one does not mean folks doing it are pros. It was the opposite not so long ago.
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Old 04-23-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
I would. I'm hung up on the profession part. A professional plumber does not say how skilled they are, it says what they do to pay the bills. Some amateurs are better than some pros. So I do tie the definition to money to some degree.

Certainly a sport being an Olympic one does not mean folks doing it are pros. It was the opposite not so long ago.
How about a AAA Baseball player, one call from the majors, making the minimum?
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