In one of the most dominant performances in decades, 22-year-old Tadej Pogacar waltzed to a second-career Tour de France title.
Pogacar is now the youngest double winner of the Tour and, without doubt, the best Grand Tour racer in the current peloton. Winning this second Tour also earned Pogacar a decent pay day too, which is no surprise.
For taking the malliot jaune, Pogacar officially banked €500,000 (£426,500) in winnigs, the same total as 2020. The Slovenian will have also pocketed a further €20,000 (£17,182) for topping the young riders’ classification and an extra €25,000 (£21,478) for taking the polka dot King of the Mountains title, too.
Three stage wins along the way would have also earned Pogacar €33,000 (£28,351) in prize money topped up by a further €11,370 (£9,768) made from placing between 2nd and 20th on no fewer than eight occasions throughout the race.
Throw in the loose change he made from reaching various categorised mountain tops and wearing leaders’ jerseys throughout the race and the total adds up to around €600,000 (£515,000) in prize money for the young Slovenian. However, as cycling is a team sport, it’s unlikely Pocagar will be buying Lamborghinis and Ferraris just yet because that total will actually be shared among the rider’s seven teammates, too.
Once divided evenly between the team, Pogacar will more than likely be pocketing closer to the €75,000 mark. And then when you consider it is customary to buy your teammates something special, like a Rolex watch for example, after winning the Tour, the final financial gain for Pogacar’s Tour efforts could be quite small.
Not that Pog should be worried, as Tour winner his bank balance will likely be boosted through kit sponsorships and brand endorsements, plus reports from L’Equipe earlier this year suggested the 22-year-old was already pocketing €5 million per season, the second-highest salary in pro cycling behind Israel Start-Up Nation’s Chris Froome.
How do Pogacar’s winnings compare to other sports?
Take a minute to just compare his winnings to other sports around the world, however, and you do realise just how small it is especially when considering the task at hand.
For example, American golfer Colin Morikawa became British Open champion on the same day as Pogacar’s success. In taking his first golfing open, the 24-year-old banked $2.05m (£1.45m) after four rounds of golf in a sunkissed Kent.
Last week at Wimbeldon, Serbian Novak Djokovic and Australian Ashleigh Barty became recent singles winners and they both earned themselves £1.7m from a prize pot that totalled £35m. At 18 years of age, Emma Raducanu made £181,000 for reaching the last 16.
If Pocagar had taken up football instead of cycling, been Italian and happened to play as a deep-lying central midfielder next to Jorginho, then he would have been entitled to a chunk of the €34m prize pot secured after winning the European Championships – not to mention a likely lucrative bonus and individual match fees too.
For similar prize money to what Pogacar earned at the Tour, you would have to look at England Cricket World Cup heroes of 2019 who bagged a prize pot of €1.6m to be shared across the 15-man squad, which came to around £100,000 each or the current British and Irish Lions who will take home £45,000 each for touring South Africa and a £20,000 bonus if they win the series.
One argument you may make is that cycling is much more niche than the above sports so it makes sense that prize winnings are smaller, which we agree with but even some of the smaller, less popular sports bag bigger prize money than cycling. For example, Mark Selby took home £500,000 for becoming Snooker World Champion in May as did Gerwyn Price for becoming darts World Champion in January.
By comparison, Pogacar battled across hell and high water to win what is arguably the hardest sporting event in the world to take home less than a hundred grand.
He should have saved himself the effort and tried to emulate 16-year-old gamer Kyle Giersdorf, who in 2019 won the Fortnite Solo World Cup. Had he done that, he would now be richer to the tune of €3m. And who said we should go outside cycling instead of staying in and playing video games?