Cyclists’ Alliance rider study finds wage disparity growing

The Cyclists’ Alliance fourth annual rider survey has found both causes for concern on wage disparity and optimism on pro circuit wage growth at the higher-end in its assessment of professional women’s cycling.

Published last week, the report’s headline findings illustrate that wage disparity between the highest and lowest paid riders in women’s cycle sport has grown; in fact the number of riders taking no salary at all has grown to a quarter in 2020 from 17% last year.

32% report earning less than €15,000 annually as a result of no gross salary requirement existing for women’s Continental teams.

Its not all bad news, however, there are signs that wages and conditions are in part improving. In particular, top-level salaries for Women’s World Tour riders continued an upward trajectory beyond the fixed minimum gross annual salary of €15.000 (employed) and €24.600 (self-employed) with the Cyclists’ Alliance reporting 25.5% earning €30.000+.

Likewise, once again riders taking legal soundings prior to signing a contract had increased by 7% year-on-year to reach 23%.

In terms of rider costs, 43% reimbursed their team for items ranging equipment through medical costs, mechanical services and travel costs. The number of riders having to do this did however drop by 8% year-on-year.

Covid-19 has continued to cause trouble, impacting wage packets among female cyclists to the tune of 29% reporting a reduction or loss entirely. 76% now worry about the impact on their ability to secure a future contract that’s worth signing.

Financial impacts aside, there is a feeling among riders that races have inadequate safety protocols and accountability for stakeholders ensuring the right protections are in place.

The survey took in responses from female cyclists competing across all disciplines, as far down as U23 competitions, as well as those racing at Continental and Women’s World Tour level.

Research has previously shown a wide-ranging scope to quickly develop women’s cycle sport, with surveys showing women to be most interested in taking up running and cycling.