UCI claims audit shows elite pro teams on rise

UCI audit suggests the pro peloton is avoiding economic downturn

The UCI produced numbers from an audit of top pro teams that it says reveals that the elite level of professional racing is bucking the trend of international economic downturn.

According to the audit conducted by Ernst & Young commissioned by the UCI of more than three-dozen top teams reveals that budgets have increased across the board by 36.5 percent.

“It is very pleasing to see that the men’s professional cycling is prospering in these difficult times,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said in the release. “Most of the cyclists within the professional peloton can live very well, or at least comfortably, on their salaries thanks to the support of sponsors who invest in this sport. These sponsors are attracted by the extremely good visibility cycling provides them throughout the year.”

The UCI claimed in a press release Monday that “this result shows that cycling is in a healthy position and resisting the effects of the current global economic downturn.”

According to the audit, in 2009, the total budget for the 39 professional men’s teams was 235 million euros. In 2012, there are 40 professional teams (18 UCI ProTeams and 22 UCI Professional Continental Teams) with a total budget of 321 million euros, representing an increase of 36 percent.

The UCI claimed “that the investment by sponsors continues to increase as they demonstrate their support for the sport of cycling. In 2012, there are 61 principal sponsors for the 40 professional teams, providing 73 percent of the teams’ revenue. This figure increases to 95 percent when grouped with the remaining sponsors.”

The numbers did not reveal the range in budgets for individual teams, as there’s a growing gap between the super teams — such ProTeam squads as Team Sky, BMC and Astana, which boast budgets in excess of 15 million euros per year, to smaller teams, such as Euskaltel-Euskadi, which have a budget of 7 million euros.

The UCI also claims that the average annual salary of a rider with a UCI ProTeam has risen from 190,000 euros in 2009 to 264,000 euros in 2012.