How much do professional cyclists earn?

Professional cycling is notoriously secretive about what goes on behind the scenes and when it comes to salaries there is no exception. Nevertheless, it is still possible to get a good grasp of what you can earn from all those long days spent grinding it out on the saddle.

Professional cycling is considered one of the toughest sports out there. Few sports require their participants to dig deep and push through for hours on end with lactic acid pumping through their legs. Is the money worth the pain? We have pulled together an overview of what the World Tour team riders are earning – from the superstars to the newbies.

Superstars – $5 million to $6.5 million

There are a few riders in the peloton who pull wages worthy of envy. The major team captains who have a genuine chance of placing in the top three of the big stage tours, including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, are generally able to secure salaries north of €2 million p.a. (AU$3 million).

Cycling super stars like Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador are both on a base salary of €3.5-€4 million which equates to about AU$5-AU$5.5 million. The highest paid pro rider is Chris Froome who is reportedly on a contract earning him £4 million or AU$6.5 million per year until 2018.

Lieutenants and super-domestiques – $1 million

The strongest domestiques have their work cut out for them when they sacrifice themselves for the sake of their team captains. Nevertheless, there is a big pay gap between the very best support riders and the superstars.

Super-domestique Jakob Fuglsang, who in his career has supported the Schleck brothers and Vincenzo Nibali in their quests for glory, has disclosed earnings of around €700,000 or AU$1 million per annum at Astana.

Further down the ranks – $40,000 to $200,000

It’s safe to assume that a large part of the World Tour peloton is going through gruelling hours of pain and suffering in the saddle without much financial incentive. New professionals and support riders without any major individual achievements will often earn less than AU$100,000 a year.

A domestique who has won a big tour stage or one of the classics can often negotiate a salary around the AU$200,000 mark.

While the biggest stars in cycling can make quite a good wage, the majority of pro cyclists have to work hard for their chomp change. It’s fair to say that professional cyclists are paid way below what the top 250 talents would earn in other internationally popular sports. In comparison, the minimum salary in the NBA for a first-year player is US$543,471 in the 2016-2017 season, equivalent to AU$710,000.

Players in the English Premier League (soccer) earn an average of £2.4 million or $AU4 million per year. In other words, the average EPL player would earn in a week what a first-year pro cyclist would earn in a year. While it’s a hard slog for most trying to earn a wage from cycling, in our opinion it is well worth the effort!

Of course, pro cyclists are also able to earn prize money and bonuses from the races they participate in, as well as generate income from private endorsements. To give you an understanding of the prize money involved in cycling we have pulled together an overview of the prize money from the World’s foremost cycling race, Tour de France. You can find it by clicking the link below.

READ NOW: Tour de France prize money – how much does the winner get?


  1. I have to say that in all of my extensive readings that comment by ‘’my name is Jeff” ranks right up there as the most nonsensical 13 words that can be slammed together.

  2. My name , Matty Cashman , Thankyou this was very useful to me ,CHEERS , I’m a huge Andre Greipel fan “the big Gorilla” Cheers Out ;-).

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