The Tour de France is one of the most iconic events in world sport.
Famous winners include the likes of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, and Bernard Hinault. In the modern era, cyclists like Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins have won eternal glory at Le Tour.
And while competition winners can expect to see their names go down in history, that’s not the only prize…
The rider who wins the Tour de France also grabs themselves a big payday.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the available prize money for the Tour de France. We’ll dive into these key areas:
- How Much Do Pro Cyclists Earn?
- Prize Money For The Tour De France: How Much Is The Yellow Jersey Worth?
- Is The Tour De France The Most Lucrative Grand Tour?
- The Price Of Success
Ready for the lowdown on prize money for the Tour de France?
Let’s dive in!
How Much Do Pro Cyclists Earn?
Pro cycling is a sport in which earnings can vary massively.
The minimum salary for male pro continental-level cyclists is around $44,000, with the minimum for WorldTour riders sitting at just under $60,000.
Recently, the UCI has implemented minimum salary requirements for professional female cyclists as well, but they’re not yet on a par with men’s.
In 2022, the minimum salary for Women’s WorldTour riders was around $31,000 – though it’s expected to increase to match the men’s UCI ProTeam minimum in 2023.
Despite these moves in the right direction, a top female pro like Marianne Vos still makes just over $100,000; a far cry from her male counterparts.
For a quick comparison, Italian sports finance outlet Calcio e Finanza recently published a report stating that two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar topped the list of the world’s biggest-earning cyclists with a €6 million ($5.9 million) salary.
These figures are estimates based on 2021 figures, and they don’t seem to have factored in riders’ earnings from endorsements outside the pay of teams, so it’s likely that those top male riders are earning significantly more than that overall.
Pretty staggering, right? While elite cyclists might not be earning quite as much as their peers in other sports, there’s still a lot of money being paid out.
Prize Money For The Tour De France: How Much Is The Yellow Jersey Worth?
On July 24, 2022, Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard wrapped up the 109th edition of the Tour de France with an emphatic victory, his first overall triumph in the famous Grand Tour.
Vingegaard held off two-time reigning champion Tadej Pogačar to win the race, overcoming a cyclist tipped by many as being the man to beat.
Clearly, this win was about way more than just money – Jonas Vingegaard’s emotional victory speech was a testament to that.
But how big was the pot for the 2022 Tour de France?
The 2022 Tour de France had a total prize fund of just over $2.7 million (£2.2 million). This is almost identical to the total awarded after last year’s race.
However, things aren’t as simple as a great big bag of cash waiting at the finish line for the winner. The prize pot is divided a few ways, with several crucial things to consider for competition organizers and racers alike.
The overall winner of the Tour de France goes home with around $480,000 – not a bad haul for a few weeks’ work!
Up next, the racer who finishes in second place is awarded roughly $211,000. In the 2022 edition of the race, this was 24-year-old Tadej Pogačar.
Meanwhile, whoever secures third place on the podium wins about $105,000. 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas took home this pot in 2022.
It’s also worth noting that the race organizers hand out additional prize money for the Tour de France to teams, stage winners, and jersey classification victors.
Every stage winner will pocket around $11,600 per victory, while each day’s second and third-place finishers will end up with $5800 and $2950 respectively.
And what about the cash given to teams?
The first, second, and third-placed teams at the Tour de France all receive a reward for their collaborative efforts.
$52,800 goes to the winning team, $31,500 goes out to the second-best, and the bronze finishers collect around $21,000.
In 2022, it was Ineos Grenadiers, a British team whose riders include Geraint Thomas and Tom Pidcock, who took home the title of the best overall team.
Other prize money is available too, although the bulk of the cash goes to that all-important top three, with extra splashed onto successful teams.
An additional fee of about $9500 will go out to the top seven riders, while any racer who manages to cross the line after the final stage in Paris will receive at least $1100.
All that to say that if you complete the Tour de France in style as one of the competition’s best performers, you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
How Does Victory Impact Contracts And Sponsorships?
We’ve discussed how there are many different factors that play into the prize money given to Tour de France champions.
It’s not just about the overall race winner – stage wins, team performance, and runners-up all play their own crucial roles as well.
And here’s another important thing to consider.
Sponsorships are crucial to the distribution of earnings from the Tour de France, generating 40% of revenue.
The majority of pro cycling teams are sponsored by conglomerates such as insurance companies, telecommunications firms, and commercial manufacturers.
These vast organizations have the budgets to fulfill the substantial costs of pro cycling sponsorship.
But why do these firms get into sponsorship if it costs so much?
Essentially, the more successful a cycling team and the individual riders within that team are, the more desirable it is for a company to have its name associated with them.
And when it comes to sponsorship deals for Tour de France riders, the scale of these funds is huge in comparison with prize money, particularly for riders outside the top few places.
Even a single day spent in the yellow jersey is a big deal when it comes to winning sponsorship deals and contracts.
In fact, it’s so important that many riders actually devise and fine-tune their Tour de France strategy around maximizing visibility for sponsors.
Keeping sponsors happy is vital, and if riders want to make serious money from their cycling, this is more important than simply winning the main prize.
Caught yourself wondering why lesser-known riders from small teams bother with a hopeless breakaway on a stage that clearly isn’t suited to it?
Well, giving their sponsor some TV airtime is a big part of it!
Is The Tour De France The Most Lucrative Grand Tour?
What about the other cycling Grand Tours? Does each major race have a big bundle of cash ready to hand out to winners each year?
In the Giro d’Italia, famous for its Maglia Rosa jersey, there’s also a substantial prize pot.
The individual winner of the Giro d’Italia receives a reward of around $265,000 – a little over half the top prize at the Tour de France.
The runners-up also grab themselves a cash prize, with the second-placed rider securing a substantial pot of $133,000, while the figures drop off a bit for the third-placed rider, who wins about $68,000.
The total prize pot for the competition comes to around $1.5 million.
Meanwhile, in Spain’s Vuelta a España, the available rewards come in slightly lower at around $1.1 million.
This year’s Vuelta winner, Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel, received around $150,000 for the win.
While these are certainly impressive rewards, it’s clear that the prize money for the Tour de France makes it the most lucrative Grand Tour there is.
And given that it’s the most famous and prestigious, that’s hardly a surprise, is it?
The Price Of Success
While the world’s best cyclists regularly get the chance to win big pots of cash at Grand Tours like the Tour de France, it certainly costs a lot to get where they are.
Competing at the highest level of cycling is an incredibly tough thing to do.
A huge amount of time and effort has to be expended to reach the standard of any Grand Tour athlete. And once you’re there, it’s not exactly easy to stay at the top.
Our website is packed with information about the most difficult aspects of pro biking.
If you’re interested in finding out about the physical cost of completing the world’s most famous road race, you might like to check out our guide to what cyclists’ legs look like after Tour de France stages.
Or if it’s the biggest and baddest climbs in cycling that fascinate you the most, take a look at our article on the Alpe d’Huez, the Tour de France’s most intimidating climb.