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Towards fair pay for stagiaires

Joseph Delves
27 Jun 2019

Pro cycling's teaboys finally guaranteed more than just something to stick on their CV

While salaries at the top of the sport seem to be growing ever larger, it’s taken a while for many racers to win the right to guaranteed pay. Recent reforms have seen increases in the minimum wage for both WorldTour and ProContinental riders, alongside the introduction of matching measures for women that will come into force in 2020.

The official minimum wage for men racing at WorldTour level is now €39,068, with €31,472 for those racing at ProContinental. By comparison, WorldTour neo-pros are guaranteed €31,609, while their colleagues at ProContinental level get €26,322.

The one exception to these rules had been those youngsters on stagiaire, or trainee, contracts.

Open to elite or U23 riders who’ve not yet ridden for a WorldTour or ProContinental team before, the big teams will take on up to three riders meeting these criteria each year. These stagiaire riders get exposure, mentoring and a chance to ride in ProContinental races.

The traditional route to a spot on a big team, what many of them didn’t get until now was paid. With only around one in four going on to be offered a full contract, the practice was akin to big companies offering unpaid internships.

Now the UCI has introduced a minimum required allowance for stagiaires to be introduced from 1st August 2019. Announced to coincide with the traditional transfer window, it will oblige teams to pay any young prospects they take on.

UCI Press Officer Louis Chenaille explains that the payments are not a salary but instead 'a one-off allowance to be paid on a daily basis for each day the trainee will join the WorldTour.'

The payment will also cover days where the rider is expected to attend duties with the team, such as when attending training camps, promotional events or days spent travelling.

The amount paid will be 50% of the minimum salary of a neo-pro rider.

This works out as €43.30 per day, (€31,609 ÷ 365 = €86.6€ x 0.50 = €43.3). Not a fortune, but likely enough to make a difference to the precarious finances of many aspiring young riders.

Covering only riders signed up with top-flight WorldTour teams, the allowance won’t be applicable for men and women riding for UCI Continental teams.

With a minimum salary for women riding at WorldTour level set to come into effect in 2020, female stagiaire riders are already entitled to an allowance relative to the salary of their peers.

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