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Blog - Pro Cycling

Pro Cycling
By Tim Aug 21, 2017 11:03:05 AM Comments

August is great month for pro cycling – the Tour of Spain starts and the ‘’official’ transfer window opens and teams can publically announce who they have signed for the following year/s. I always find this part of the season really exciting to watch, as the racing is always intense and aggressive. There are a number of reasons for this, but I suppose for many of the worlds best cyclists it boils down to how well your season has gone so far and also if you have a contract for the following year.

It’s a funny business model professional cycling contracts and the full ins and outs of how it works are strange, complex and often done at the major races of the year.  For example, the Tour de France for many people who attend in an official capacity, it’s more of a 3 week rolling business meeting as rides, agents and team managers look to secure and advance their plans for the following season.  

This aside though, it’s the riders who keep the show on the road (forgive the pun) and this is where it gets interesting. To turn professional in cycling you must win a number of decent races at elite amateur level before any pro team would even consider signing you.  This means that you are already extremely competitive and capable on the bike, but a funny thing happens when you turn pro. You quickly find out that so is every other rider in the peloton – so what you find is riders very quickly find what they are good at or where they can add value to a team. This is essentially what keeps them in a job. Then, to add a further layer of complexity there is the world tour points system that teams must keep in mind if they want to remain in the top tier of the sport and gain automatic entry to the biggest races, as their sponsors would want and expect.

Added to this mix are the rider’s agents who will be out to secure the most money for the riders they represent. This is a very grey area for many, as the money rider’s make is kept very secretive and quiet. As most of us know, salaries in professional cycling are small compared with other sports such as football, golf or tennis. However, this does not mean there is no money in cycling. Many of the world’s best cyclists can earn many million annually from their teams and sponsors. 

There are a number of factors in play when trying to decide what value (Salary) to give to a rider. Things such as demand (how many riders or teams are currently on the circuit) world tour points that the rider has, his age, his palmarés. The last two points I made here – age and current Palmarés – these can really affect a rider’s value. For example, Peter Sagan commands such a high salary as he has won so much already but is still relatively young, meaning that he should, in theory continue to do so in the future given his previous track record.

It’s a hard sport for young riders to break into at professional level. When world tour teams sign riders now from U23 level they have to give them 2-year contracts as mandated by the UCI. This doesn’t really give a huge amount of time for riders to adapt and it can sometime be hard to get going. Successes at U23 level dose not always transpire into the success at professional level. Have a quick look back at over the last 10 years and see how many previous winners of the world U23 RR title have gone on to become successful pro riders. I suppose what I’m saying is that riders continue to develop at different rates and some will be better at a younger age and some will develop a little slower and blossom in their latter years in the pro ranks.

I hope your have enjoyed this quick over view of pro cycling. If you have any comments or suggestions please do reach out and get in touch with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages,

Until next time,

Arrivée Performance Clothing – Winning Style


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