Splitting Cycling Prize Money

Every once in a while we get to peak into pro cycling at it’s inner workings and today we were able to see a breakdown of what a team like Trek Factory Racing does when splitting prize money. Gregory Rast posted this photo of a breakdown of the 2014 World Tour race Milan San Remo.

To make things a bit easier to visualize, let us break down the different amounts to see where all the money is going.

Milan San Remo Prize Money Split

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CPA Deduction€770.00
CFAD Deduction€220.00
Federations / Association€330.00
Staff Deduction€1,650.00
CS Deduction€330.00
Rider Netto€3,702.00


So in the end you have each of the 8 riders earning only €462,75 each at one of the Monuments of cycling. A race where Rast’s teammate Fabian Cancellara took 2nd place, while Rast and Felline rounded out the top 20 with 19th and 20th. Not a bad result for Trek, but one would think there would be more money for the team to be splitting. Consider that in Golf The Honda Classic that is coming up has a prize list of 6.1 million dollars, the winner clears well over 1 million and even the last place golfer will make more money that the entire team did at Milan San Remo. I’m not even aware of what the biggest PGA events are, which I am assuming would carry and even larger prize list than the first event that I picked at random.

So who’s getting their cut, lets take a look

  • As the race was held in Italy, I will assume the tax was paid there for the service, but as I am not an accountant and EU Tax laws are very interpretable I’ll refrain from making any definitive statements.
  • C.P.A. is the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés which is the riders union. They take a 7% stake of every professional riders salary and use 5% to go to their solidarity fund (retirement) to give some stability to the peloton. 2% goes toward the running of the CPA
  • CFAD is the rider fee for contributing to the funding of anti-doping testing in the sport.
  • Federations of course take a cut as they must administer the money they hold in trust from the organizers (of course I have always wondered what the interest is on all the money some federations hold in escrow)
  • Another problem facing Rast was a fine of €1094 euros for the team. This cost the guys €136.75 euros each in pre-fee’s income.
  • Staff costs are the bonus that is split among those supporting the riders  that day
  • CS stands for Cycling Service, which is an administration company dedicated to handling the various legal and paperwork requirements of running and paying riders. They take a 3% cut for their services.

Which brings me to my next chart. I decided to take out the fines to see a true breakdown of how the prize money is shared at Trek Factory Racing.

Standard Split of Prize Money

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Association Fees€770.00
Rider Wages€4,796.00
CPA Solidarity Fund€550.00


Now you might have noticed I’ve broken it down into a few different fields. The Association fees are for 2% CPA,  3% CFAD and 2% Federations. I also broke out the CPA Solidarity Fund as this isn’t really money the CPA will receive, but didn’t include in the rider wages as I am unsure what the rider will receive out of this share. What is also interesting was the 37.7% tax rate the riders are paying when you cut out all the fees paid and compare it to what the rider receives.

For me the biggest fact that only 43.6% of what the riders earn they get to keep, LESS THAN HALF. Consider many live in Europe where their €462 euros earned that day will be further devalued by VAT (sales tax) of over 20%. That is an hourly rate of around €54 euros per hour for just the 7 hours of racing, but consider the travel time to the race, the race day and travel afterwards, it wold be easy to assume at least 20 hours of “business” time around the race, which puts the Trek Factory Race Team riders at a crazy €19 per hour for placing 2nd and enduring one of the wettest Milan San Remo’s in recent years.

Now I am well aware there are team bonuses paid, they are salaried to a decent degree, so it isn’t like any of the riders are paupers at the end of the day. But it is an interesting look into the monetary mechanisms that run the cycling world.

So what are your thoughts on splitting of prize money? You think the riders are getting their fair share? Hit us up on Twitter at @thechainstay with your thoughts.