Quarter of women's peloton still unpaid in 2022

Rider survey highlights growing disparity between women's WorldTour and Continental ranks

Peloton at the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The latest rider survey by independent union The Cyclists’ Alliance has revealed that, while wages are increasing for top female cyclists, the disparity between WorldTour and Continental salaries is widening. 

Published on Tuesday, the survey of 124 current female riders found that 13% of those competing in WorldTour teams earned over €100,000 in 2022, with a further 24% saying they received between €60,000 and €100,000. These figures are up 11% and 17% respectively from last year’s survey results.

Despite higher WorldTour salaries, the survey outlined the growing wage gap to riders competing on Continental teams.

“There were athletes racing this year’s Tour de France Femmes who received no salary from their team racing against riders earning a triple figure salary,” a statement from The Cyclists' Alliance read.

According to the survey, 23% of respondents said they did not receive a salary in 2022, compared to 34% the year before. This improvement is due in part to the expansion of the women's WorldTour at the start of the season from nine to 14 teams.

Currently, only women’s WorldTour teams have an obligation to pay a minimum wage, which stands at €27,500 for employed riders and €45,100 for self-employed riders. Those contracted to Continental teams are not entitled to a salary. 

The statement by the Cyclists’ Alliance continued: “The UCI should consider solutions to mitigate and the TCA is happy to be consulted as unfortunately 'financial reasons' remains the main reason for leaving the sport of professional cycling earlier than planned for female cyclists.”

The survey results highlighted that only around half of female professional riders are able to rely on cycling as their sole source of income, with many working alongside racing or turning to family members and partners for financial support.

When asked to choose key topics to advocate for, respondents selected increased TV coverage as the most important. This was followed by a minimum salary for all riders and more racing opportunities for those in the junior, U23 and Continental ranks. 

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.