How Much Money Do Tour de France Winners Make?

There are $2.5 million in Tour de France money prizes in 2016. The winner will get $550,000 but the real money comes in future endorsement deals and cycling team salary increases. The total purse for the Tour de France has actually gone down from its ten year high of $3.85 million in 2011. Even in 2006 the prize money was at $3.52 million. The money dropped to just over $2 million in 2013 and has risen gradually and sporadically since then. Taking up the slack of the relatively low prize money (low for a major sporting event) are salaries that can top $1 million for a winner and endorsement deals in the neighborhood of $3 million a year total for a seasoned multi-year champion like Alberto Contador. Between prize money, salary and endorsement deals, the difference between never winning a Tour de France and winning one is huge. A win can take a cyclist from making $100,000 in one year to making $3 million the following year. Successive wins can ramp things up from there, with a ceiling of about $5 million per year. While that doesn’t measure up to income of over $50 million a year for top stars in the NBA, the NFL, MLB or PGA, it’s still not bad compensation for career athletes who are following their passion.

How Much Money Does a Tour De France Winner Get?

Tour de France MoneyAsking for the total amount of Tour de France money a winner will receive is a bit of a loaded question. The reason is that the winner’s payout will depend heavily on what level of pay they already enjoy. A cyclist who is relatively new to the sport can see a jump  of 6,000% or more, while a seasoned veteran who has won the Tour multiple times like Alberto Contador will likely see a much more modest 10% earnings bump. That’s because the prize money is a relatively low $550,000 for a first place finisher. The real Tour de France money comes in the form of millions in future salary and endorsement deals. Once a cyclist has already been airlifted into the big money zone, all they really get from a Tour de France win is a guarantee they can keep earning at a high level for the next few years.

The table below shows the top level info for a Tour de France win, in terms of prize money, salary and endorsements. For the table, we assume we’re talking about a cyclist who has already won some major tours, but not the Tour de France. This cyclist already has about $600,000 a year in salary and roughly $500,000 in endorsement deal money. The table shows the first place prize money for the win and the boost to yearly earnings for both salary and endorsements.

Total Tour de France Money
EurosDollars
First Place Prize Money$495,000$550,000
Salary Increase for a First Time Winner$450,000$500,000
Endorsement Money Increase$900,000$1,000,000
Total Tour de France Money Increase$1,845,000$2,050,000

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Tour de France Prize Money in 2016

The total Tour de France money in 2016 is €2,295,850 which at the time of this writing is $2,525,435. There are lots of prizes for different achievements along the tour, so that prize money isn’t divided equally among the cyclists according to how they place. That said, the first place finisher gets $550,000, 2nd place gets $220,000 and 3rd place gets $110,000. The table below shows how the top ten finishers get paid in terms of prize money alone. In addition to the numbers shown below, every cyclist in the Tour from #20 to #160 gets $1,000.

Tour de France Money 2016
PlacePrize Money (Euros)USD equivalent (1:1.1)
1$500,000$550,000
2$200,000$220,000
3$100,000$110,000
4$70,000$77,000
5$50,000$55,000
6$23,000$25,300
7$11,500$12,650
8$7,600$8,360
9$4,500$4,950
10$3,800$4,180

Tour de France Endorsement Boost

Tour de France endorsement moneyThe Tour de France money from salary and endorsement increases is the biggest prize a cyclist can get. Looking at endorsements first, the table below shows earnings estimates for five Tour de France winners from the past ten years. The cyclists endorsement earnings are shown both before their Tour de France wins and afterward. In most cases, a cyclist who performs well in major cycling events can pull in sponsor dollars upwards of half a million a year. After a Tour de France win, that money can increase to over $1 million a year, according to reports. Alberto Contador is a special case. He won the Tour in 2007, 2009 and 2010. His endorsement pay has been reported at $3 million per year from deals with companies like Specialized and Tinkoff Bank. Successive wins of course generate more interest and create more confidence that a cyclist has some staying power. That in turn makes him a safer bet for sponsors who are looking for a spokesman.

Potential Future Money Increase from Tour de France Win
Tour de France Winner and YearEndorsement Earnings Before WinEndorsement Earnings After WinPercent Increase
Oscar Pereiro 2006$500,000$1,500,000200%
Alberto Contador 2007$600,000$3,000,000400%
Carlos Sastre 2008$550,000$1,500,000173%
Cadel Evans 2009$630,000$1,500,000138%
Bradley Wiggins 2010$600,000$1,500,000150%
Total Change1061%

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Salary Increases After a Tour de France Win

Endorsements and prize money aren’t the only source of Tour de France riches. According to online reports, cyclists get paid more by their teams depending on performance. The table below shows approximate pro cyclist earnings levels by general categories of experience, in both euros and dollars. The minimum salary for any pro tour cyclist sits at €35,000, or $38,850. That salary increases as a cyclist hits certain career benchmarks like placing in the Tour de France or other Classics. Tour de France money for a first place finisher can come in the form of a future salary of over €1,500,000 or $1,665,000 from the cyclist’s team. 

Pro Cyclist Salary Benchmarks
EurosDollars
Min Salary Pro Tour Rider€35,000$38,850
Good Pro Tour Rider€100,000$111,000
Very Good Pro Tour Rider€200,000$222,000
Places in the Tour De France€150,000$166,500
Wins a big "Classic" Race€200,000$222,000
Lots of Big Wins€600,000$666,000
Wins Tour de France€1,500,000€1,665,000

Past 10 Years of Tour de France Money

The total purse of Tour de France money has trended downward over the past ten years. That’s not such a bad thing, since the lag is more than made up for by salary and endorsement increases. The table below shows how the total purse has changed, going up from $3.5 million in 2007 to a height of $3.85 million in 2011, then dropping to just over $2 million in 2013 and only going up significantly in 2016.

Total Tour de France Money Past 10 Years
YearTotal Prize Money (Euros)USD equivalent (1:1.1)
2007€3,200,000$3,520,000
2008€3,200,000$3,520,000
2009€3,200,000$3,520,000
2010€3,200,000$3,520,000
2011€3,500,000$3,850,000
2012€3,414,246$3,755,671
2013€2,023,300$2,225,630
2014€2,035,000$2,238,500
2015€2,030,150$2,233,165
2016€2,295,850$2,525,435

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Who Will Get the Most Tour de France Money this Year?

Who will get the most Tour de France money in 2016? If we knew the answer to that question for a fact we’d stop writing these articles and place some big money bets instead. Still, we can do some fairly good estimating. Chris Froome, the British cyclist from Team Sky, already won the Tour in 2013 and 2015 and is considered to have the best shot for a repeat win in 2016. Colombian Nairo Quintana for the Movistar team took 2nd place in 2013 and 2015 and is seen to have the best shot at beating Froome. Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador has won the Tour de France three times already and at 33 is still in good shape for his attempt at a fourth win. The table below shows the top ten favorites for making the most money from the Tour, in order. Conspicuously absent from our oddsmakers’ list is Mark Cavendish, who just won his 28th Tour stage.

 

Top Ten Most Likely Tour de France Prize Money Winners
CountCyclistTeamNationality
1Chris FroomeTeam SkyBritish
2Nairo QuintanaMovistarColombian
3Alberto ContadorTinkoffSpanish
4Fabio AruAstanaItalian
5Richie PorteBMC RacingAustralian
6Romain BardetAg2r-La MondialeFrench
7Thibaut PinotFDJFrench
8Warren BarguilGiant-AlpecinFrench
9Dan MartinEtixx-Quick StepIrish
10Geraint ThomasTeam SkyBritish

Tour de France Winners Past 10 Years

Who won the most Tour de France money in the past ten years? Alberto Contador won three times, landing nearly $1.5 million in prize money, plus an annual salary of about $1.5 million and endorsement contracts worth an estimated $3 million every year. Not far behind is Christopher Froome, with two wins in the past three years and all the salary and endorsement boosts that come from that. The other Tour de France winners are shown in the table below. As of 7/17/16, the Tour De France has completed stage 16.

Tour de France Money 2006-2015
Tour de FranceCyclistWinnings (Euro)USD equivalent (1:1.1)
2006Oscar Pereiro$450,000$495,000
2007Alberto Contador$450,000$495,000
2008Carlos Sastre$450,000$495,000
2009Alberto Contador$450,000$495,000
2010Alberto Contador$450,000$495,000
2011Cadel Evans$450,000$495,000
2012Bradley Wiggins$450,000$495,000
2013Christopher Froome$450,000$495,000
2014Tony Gallopin$450,000$495,000
2015Christopher Froome$450,000$495,000