Cyclists’ Alliance survey of cyclists highlights disparities on two levels

The Independent Women’s Platoon Union, The Cyclists’ Alliance (TCA), published the results of their Passenger survey Wednesday. Now in its fifth year, the survey is designed to paint a picture of working conditions within the women’s platoon.

The survey was completed by 124 riders across multiple disciplines, with 44% of respondents racing for WorldTour teams.

As has been the case for many seasons, the survey found that while the wages and conditions of these WorldTour riders are improving year on year, there is still a significant disparity between these top riders and their continental counterparts.

The riders gave their opinion on the most relevant topics for the peloton

While 73% of runners surveyed said they were “very happy” or “happy”, a 30% increase since 2021, thanks to the “increasing professionalism of teams through runner-focused initiatives such as; professional training camps including the addition of altitude training, media training, race analysis and development of tactical skills, hiring specialist personnel such as nutritionists and trainers mental,” 11% of riders would be “unhappy” or “very unhappy” with their team citing “poor management and pressure in situations they feel uncomfortable with.

In terms of earnings, the outlook is positive for WWT riders, with many saying they earn salaries “significantly above the minimum requirement regulated by the UCI” with 13% of WWT riders surveyed earning over €100,000. per year (up 11% compared to 2021) and 24% of WWT runners earning between 60,000 and 100,000 euros per year (up 17%).

Lack of a living wage means many runners are unable to support themselves through sport

Outside of the WWT, however, where there is no UCI-mandated minimum wage, only 15% of female professional cyclists received an income of EUR 20,000 or more” and there are still large numbers ( 23%) of runners who race without income from their Continental team,” reports TCA, although this figure is down from 2021 when it was 34%.

In 2021, TCA reported that “ensuring that all riders earn minimum wage was one of the main topics that riders asked TCA to continue advocating for.”

This year, TCA wrote: “There were athletes competing in this year’s Tour de France Women who received no salary from their team racing against riders earning triple-digit salaries.”

“The UCI should consider solutions to mitigate and the TCA is happy to be consulted as unfortunately ‘financial reasons’ remain the main reason for leaving the sport of professional cycling earlier than expected for female cyclists.”

The survey also found that 30% of riders now use the services of riders’ agents to negotiate contracts “but this skews 81% of WWT riders to 24% of Continental riders.”

Another recurring observation is that runners who already earn below the minimum wage are asked to reimburse their teams for expenses related to their work. 28% of the runners surveyed had to reimburse the costs necessary to be a professional cyclist. Naturally, this means that only 54% of cyclists surveyed can rely on cycling as their only income.

Elsewhere, TCA asked runners what they consider to be the most critical factor in the sport’s growth, with 56% responding that increased live TV coverage “is a key topic for sport stakeholders to to concentrate”.

The survey also asked which resources offered by TCA were considered most important by runners, with “legal services” coming out on top (58%), educational resources (e.g. webinars on a variety of topics, including including nutrition, medicine, contracts, etc.)%, and consulting the TCA Ethics Officer third (36%).

“TCA believes the only way to change women’s cycling for the better is to work together as a unified group of athletes to identify the issues,” the union wrote. “By addressing them together, we can create lasting positive change.”

Earnest L. Veasey