Cycling has been a popular sport for many years in France thanks in large part to the Tour de France and its champions. It is both an individual sport and a collective. Different because each runner tries to win, and the own performance of the runner will decide his salary in his team. But also collective because each runner is part of a team and can sometimes have to work for the success of one of its teammates as Team Sky, with all the riders working for the victory of Froome while they can sometimes be stronger than their leader. The professional cyclist is a salaried sportsman on a professional cycling team, which he represents in official races. He must undergo daily training, regular medical follow-up, and strict life hygiene to obtain the best possible results in competition.
Often from a family of cycling enthusiasts, the professional cyclist is a privileged sportsman who can devote himself entirely to the practice of cycling. Once recruited by a professional team, he has to undergo a very demanding preparation to reach his best level during the cycling season, which runs from March to October. The daily training usually includes a road trip of several hours, followed by a few exercises of strength training, stretching, and care (mainly massages).
During the season, cyclists make numerous trips, often onboard the team’s adapted bus, to compete in classics and stage races in France and abroad. Between races, they must maintain their fitness level at training while recovering enough of their efforts to be successful on D-day. They must also manage their careers intelligently by signing contracts that guarantee them the best income. With success, some professional cyclists use an agent who takes charge, for a fee, of managing their Sports and sponsorship contracts.
What degree is required?
The starting point for a professional cycling career is training in one of the thousands of amateur clubs in France. To join the professional ranks, young riders must make themselves known in regional races or on the National junior circuit. The most promising of them can then enter a federal structure (Pôle Espoir or Pôle France) or an amateur team operating in one of the 3 national divisions (only one for women). The 9 French professional organizations (including one female) affiliated to the National Cycling League have, for the most part, developed partnerships with these amateur structures, from which they recruit every year the best elements. Each professional team has between 15 and 30 riders. In total, nearly 150 French cyclists (including a dozen women) are part of a French or foreign professional team.
Professional cycling salary
In France, the salary of a professional cyclist starts around 2,000 euros’ net monthly depending on the team he joins, to which are added possible bonuses of individual and collective results. In 2014, the average salary of French cyclists was 5,400 euros net per month. The best in the world earn several million euros a year, like Alberto Contador, the world’s best-paid cyclist, whose income is estimated at 5 million euros in 2015.