Working conditions within the women's peloton have improved in recent years, due in no small part to The Cyclists' Alliance which has lobbied the Union Cycliste International and been a resource for riders who find themselves confronting difficulties within the cycling industry.
It is not yet officially recognised as the peloton's union representatives, with the most emphatic part of the finding in the new study being that 94 per cent of respondents wanted better oversight in cycling, a role performed by the UCI, and 99 per cent want the UCI to recognise The Cyclists' Alliance as the riders' representative. With race safety also highlighted as a key concern, there is significant desire from riders for better conditions.
With the survey now in its fourth year, the data collected gives The Cyclists’ Alliance a clear indication of the progress and development of women’s cycling as well as the key areas that need to be worked upon by the organisation. The 2020 survey also included some new questions regarding the impact of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 response from teams was supported, with 85 per cent of riders saying they were confident in their teams' protocols. 29 per cent saw their salary reduced or eliminated due to COVID and 76 per cent without a contract for 2021 were concerned that COVID was going to make things more difficult for those looking to sign a new deal.
Below are the key findings from the 2020 survey, you can find more detail from the full results here.
What has improved for riders?
For a second year running, more riders are seeking legal advice before signing their employment contract (increased from 16% in 2019 to 23% in 2020).
The number of riders required to reimburse their team for services essential to complete their job as a professional cyclist has decreased by 8% since 2019. However, 43% of riders surveyed reimbursed their team for one or more of the following; equipment, mechanical service, medical costs and travel costs in 2020.
Top-end salaries in the Women’s World Tour continue to rise above the fixed minimum gross annual salary of €15,000 or $AU24,470 (employed) and €24,600 or $AU40,143 (self-employed) with 25.5% earning €30,000+ or $AU48,955.
What has declined for riders?
Wage disparity is growing between the highest and lowest paid riders. Alarmingly, the number of professional riders receiving zero salary has increased from 17% in 2019 to 25% in 2020.
As no fixed minimum gross salary applies for the Continental teams we continue to see many riders earning less than annual salary of €15.000 (32%)
What has emerged as a new concern for riders?
Covid-19 has inevitably impacted the riders, with 29% experiencing a salary reduction or lost it entirely and 76% are concerned it will impact their ability to secure a contract for the following season resulting in increased financial stability for riders.
What has stayed the same?
Non-European riders emphasised the continued pressure associated with requiring VISAs. We believe this issue (although not the only factor) contributes to the issue of diversity.
Riders still believe there is inadequate race safety protocols and stakeholder accountability to ensure riders safety