Mark Cavendish, Alberto Contador, and Cadel Evans issued a joint statement today, apologizing to the other 470 members of the professional peloton for “inappropriately skewing the average salary and sullying their reputations as underpaid slaves.” The statement came in response to the UCI’s recent report on the healthy position of men’s professional cycling.
“We are sorry that our exorbitant salaries were averaged in to the UCI’s figures to completely misrepresent what is truly happening with wages in the professional peloton. We feel that the governing body of the sport has purposefully pitted the ‘haves’ against the ‘have nots’ in order to prevent us from forming a union that would protect the interests of all in the sport,” declared the three superstars of cycling at a joint press conference in Monaco.
In fact, according to our sources inside the UCI, when you average the salaries of the peloton after factoring out earnings of the top and bottom 50 athletes, the salary figure barely approaches 100,000 euros. One Pro-Continental rider, speaking to Cyclismas on the basis of anonymity, stated that he was the top earner on his team at the equivalent of 80,000 euros. He also stated that the situation wasn’t any different at the WorldTour level, except for the “lucky two or three” stars on each of those teams.
The UCI was quick to jump on the challenge issued by the superstars of the sport.
“If we want to grow cycling and make more money, these idiots have to play by our rules. Sure, most of the peloton actually only makes a quarter of the stated average, but we’re all about giving them something to aspire to. What’s wrong with dangling the carrot? If the grist for the peloton mill – or domestiques, as we call them – has a problem with the 1% who are making too much money, that’s just too fooking bad,” responded UCI president Pat McQuaid.
Gerard Vroomen, former owner of Cervelo, has offered his assistance to the pro peloton to combat what he calls, “exponential unstainable growth in cycling revenue.”
“After spending time with my former partner [Phil White], I became familiar with his hero, David Suzuki, the Canadian environmental crusader. His concept of exponential growth is pretty much on the money, and we need to create a ‘plateau’ for cycling, rather than this ridiculous growth model. McQuaid and the UCI have knocked our sport out of equilibrium,” stated Vroomen via phone.
When asked if he was going to run against McQuaid during the next UCI election, Vroomen was terse, “I think a trained monkey would do less damage to cycling than McQuaid has. I mean, what kind of sport do we have when teams are given regular cars instead of estate cars at races in Malaysia? How do you get raincoats out of the boot at 110 kms per hour? I just may run against him.”
Former professional cyclist and French TV pundit Jean-Francois Bernard offered his professional opinion on the subject, “This so-called ‘average annual salary’ could feed a small Spanish village for a year.”
Contador, Evans, and Cavendish are considering donating 60% of their earnings to the formation of a riders union, whose first order of business would be to establish a salary cap and also a team spending cap.
It remains to be seen if the three amigos will be inspired to invoke Zapata and lead the pro peloton to strike for fair wages following their viewing of Ocean’s 13 at Thor Hushovd’s Monaco enclave during his annual classics season kick-off party.