Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rags to Snitches

Gimme Some Money: so the question's been asked how much do pro cyclists make, and I must confess to only the same random samplings I hear like anyone else, like that twerp Riccardo Ricco taking one freakin' stage win only to jack his salary up near 2x Giro god/peerless peloton smack-talker we love Gilberto Simoni, and I'd learned that a pinup rider like dreamy Tom Boonen can, for example, reap truly ridiculous sums if he's willing to glam up in a studly leather-armored gladiator outfit and flex his gams for the endorsement cameras. But I'd really no idea on the salaries of the average schlump 'til I happened on the UCI website and found that, under the current UCI "Joint Agreement", Continental riders need only get a minimum of 21,500 euros/year for a newbie and 25,000 euros for oldies but goodies, while ProTour boys are only entitled to 24,000 euros for the newbies and 30,000 euros for the more experienced folks. Meantime, the average sap with some decent results can apparently expect to make somewhere in the 50k euro range, and if you're a true superdomestique, you can look forward to a nice 100k euro a year. (Hincapie? Really? You've got to be kidding me. Lance, you better've coughed up some *serious* dough for that boy since he could've been taking half the classics if he weren't shepherding your !@# around the Grand Boucle!) Still and all, considering they do get individual prizes for stage wins, free room and board, team-win bonuses, those pretty team kits, and all the free schwag they can handle--not to mention the sort of bikes passionate amateurs have to rob banks to afford--I ain't really crying for most of 'em. (Except Iban Mayo. Still. Dammit!) As for the top riders? Well, Cycle Sport mag helpfully listed the top 16 of 2006 back this March, ranging from $3.8 mil (sorry, don't know the exchange rate) for Valverde *not* to win the Tour, to $3.2 for Bettini (right on!), to $2 million for Basso (no wonder Bjarne was pissed!), $1.3 mil for we love Thor Hushovd (which must've irked Robbie "$1.6 mil" McEwen, for all the times he beat him), down to a paltry $975k for Michael Boogerd. Meantime, Vino was taking in a sweet $1.7 mil, though I must warn him, in his new career as a human rights crusader, that those of us in the public sector tend to make somewhat less. You stay right on the case though Vinokorouv!

And the price of selling out your brothers, I mean, confessing your own transgressions and coincidentally taking other, bigger riders down with you? Now, I don't know what that tiresome gnat Jesus Manzano's been charging, but it was rumored that Jorg Jaksche got paid in the neighborhood of 15k euros to pipe up to the press, and Jan--reviled as you are by the press that figured on exactly what you were doing and lionized you anyway for a decade til it became totally clear you'd never take Armstrong out at the Tour--I'm surmising you can demand enough to keep your growing family quite handsomely for the near future, assuming you one day get tired of not whoring your soul just to join the faux-crying post-bust repentant wah-wah chorus.

Now what I want to know is, what does that eejit Al Trautwig command, and it better goddamn not be within 100k of what Phil & Paul (heck, even Bob) pull in on a slow news day!

1 comment:

cyntax said...

(Hincapie? Really? You've got to be kidding me. Lance, you better've coughed up some *serious* dough for that boy since he could've been taking half the classics if he weren't shepherding your !@# around the Grand Boucle!)

Good point RJ. Traditionally, all of the 1st place prize money won in the Tour de France goes to the team and not to the team captain, since the captain will get endorsements far in excess of the prize money. Not sure if that's the case for 2nd and 3rd place, or whether that holds for the Giro and Vuelta as well. But Hincapie got some good scratch for all his work.