Cyclocross Start Money – The Facts
How much do the riders get?
The money behind cyclocross: Much like the 6 Days and the criteriums, there has always been a mystery in cyclocross about the payment to the riders to put on a show. Like another subject, there has been an ‘omerta’ on that kind of thing. Belgian newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad, has opened the account books and spilt the beans.
Big cross business
The rumours back in July was that the starting fees in cyclocross this winter would be significantly lower than in previous years. Het Nieuwsblad has published the amounts that the top riders will receive this winter. Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel will both still receive €10,000, all the other top ‘cross riders have had their payments cut significantly.
Wout van Aert’s road season should have helped his winter wage
There are still a few taboo subjects in the sport of cyclocross: Wages, start money and other financial allowances are well kept secrets amongst the riders, managers, teams and race organisers. Although it looks like someone broke the omerta. Het Nieuwsblad has been able to inspect the account books and on Monday the Belgian newspaper exclusively published the start money of the top men of the mud.
Where there is mud, there’s money – For some
The figures show that – partly due to the corona crisis – the payments have decreased significantly. The two best placed riders in cyclocross remain in the money. Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert still receive €10,000 for every cross race, with the exception of the World Cup, where there is no start money, but the prizes are much higher. Their pay check is about the same as in previous years.
The two big earners – Van der Poel and Van Aert
Tom Meeusen takes the biggest loss
The case of Van Aert and Van der Poel goes much further than the world of cyclocross. After their performance in the past road season, they have no doubt increased their asking price anyway. So in a way they have taken a drop in payment. According to Het Nieuwsblad the two received €9,000 three years ago.
Wage cut for Tom Meeusen
For most of the other riders, the pay check has shrunk this winter. Four years ago, Tom Meeusen, could count on a start payment of up to €5,000. In the following years, he saw this decrease to first €3,000, then €1,250 and last year €1,000 euros. Today, Meeusen receives barely €250.
Eli Iserbyt is doing okay
The exception is Eli Iserbyt, who only broke through last year. In 2019, the young West Flemish rider had to make do with €1,400. Thanks to his excellent results of last year, he now €2,250. He too, should now easily be receiving €5,000 to €6,000 in start money under the old system. The same for the Belgian champion, Laurens Sweeck.
Belgian champ – Laurens Sweeck
The current rates in euros according to Het Nieuwsblad:
Wout van Aert: €10,000
Mathieu van der Poel: €10,000
Eli Iserbyt: €2,250 (last year €1,400)
Laurens Sweeck: €2,000
Toon Aerts: €2,000 (last year €6,000)
Michael Vanthourenhout: €1,250 (last year €2,500)
Lars van der Haar: €1,000 euros (last year €2,750)
Tim Merlier: €500 (last year 1,500)
Corné van Kessel: €500 (last year €1,350)
Thibau Nys: €400
Tom Meeusen, Daan Soete: €250 (last year €1,000)
David van der Poel: €250
Thijs Aerts: €150 (last year €400)
In the past, the starting fee was determined purely by negotiation, today it is partly determined by the UCI ranking. For example, the top three in the rankings automatically receive €1,000, the next seven receive €500 to €300, for 11th to 25th place it would be €150. The same for the ladies.
Toon Aerts has seen his money drop
In addition, every cyclocross rider can negotiate an additional amount. For Toon Aerts, who is second in the ranking today, for example, that is €1,000 extra, which brings his total to €2,000. Also, the young rider, Thibau Nys, may only be a first-year pro and hardly have any UCI points, but with his €400 start money he is definitely not getting a bad deal.
Tough time for the race organisers
An organiser who wants all the big names – both men and women – on the start line, could expect to pay between €55,000 and €60,000 euros last winter, on top of the normal organisational costs. ‘Untenable’ was what several race organisers had been saying for a few years. That amount has now been halved. At the same time, it should be noted that the race organisers have no income from ticketing, VIPs and drink consumption this winter because there are no spectators due to Covid-19.
No fans this year
Thanks to WielerFlits for the insight and Het Nieuwsblad for the figures.