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Top 20 Highest Paid Pro Cyclists in 2020

A pro cyclist will race over 10,000 kms a year, over 80 days, spending 220 days away from home sharing hotel rooms with team-mates. But is it worth it?

Here's our list of the highest-paid cyclists in 2020 with some big surprises in the top 5.

20. Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) €1.5m

In 2016, López won his first World Tour stage race at the Tour de Suisse and achieved his maiden grand tour stage victory the following season on Stage 11 of the Vuelta a España, followed by another victory on Stage 15.He was the overall winner of the Tour Colombia and the Volta a Catalunya in 2019.

19. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) €1.5m

On 10 May 2015, Viviani won his first Grand Tour stage victory at the Giro d'Italia, winning stage 2 in a bunch sprint before Moreno Hofland and André Greipel. In August 2016 Viviani won gold in the omnium at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Viviani's nickname in the peloton is "Il Veggente" for his ability to foresee line moves of other sprinters during the sprint

18. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) €1.6m

He won the men's individual road race event at the 2016 Summer Olympics,and has won other one-day races such as Paris–Roubaix, Gent–Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke in 2017, the 2016 GP de Montréal and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2016 and 2017. In the Grand Tours, Van Avermaet has taken two individual stage wins in the Tour de France, and worn the Yellow Jersey for eleven days during the 2016 and 2018 Tours and won the points classification in the Vuelta a España, with one stage win in the Vuelta a España. Van Avermaet was also the overall winner of the 2017 UCI World Tour.

17. Romain Bardet (Groupama-FDJ) €1.7m

Bardet is known for his climbing ability which makes him one of the top contenders in Grand Tours.

So far in his career, his best results has come on home soil. He has won three stages in the Tour de France in three separate years running from 2015 to 2017. He has also finished on the podium in the Tour de France twice, second overall in 2016 and third overall in 2017. He has also worn the Young rider classification jersey, and won the Mountains classification jersey in 2019 as well as the overall Combativity Award in 2015.

16. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) €1.8m

He is well known as a sprinter. Riding for the Colombian national cycling team, Gaviria came to international attention at the 2015 Tour de San Luis, where he beat former world champion Mark Cavendish in two sprint finishes. His first major Grand Tour wins came at the 2017 Giro d'Italia. He is the brother of track cyclist Juliana Gaviria.[4] His nickname is "Quetzal splendente", from the brightful and colourful South American bird Quetzal. Its colours recall his world championship titles, his Colombia and "la maglia Ciclamino" won at Giro d'Italia.

15. Tom Dumoulin (Team Jumbo-Visma) €1.8m

Known for his time-trialing ability, Dumoulin excelled in climbing and is now seen and viewed by many as a climbing specialist. In 2017, he became the first male Dutch rider to win the Giro d'Italia and later that year, the World individual men's time trial Championships. Based on his recent performances in Grand Tours, Dumoulin is showing himself to be an elite general classification rider. In the 2016 Tour de France, he won two stages then finished 2nd to only Chris Froome on the final time trial. Then, in the Giro d'Italia, he won the 2017 edition and finished 2nd in 2018, the only rider inside a minute of Froome. He followed this up with a remarkably strong performance in the 2018 Tour de France, once again coming in 2nd place overall and claiming another Stage win on the only Individual Time Trial of the Tour.

14. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) €1.9m

Nicknamed "Nairoman" and "El Cóndor de los Andes", Quintana is a specialist climber, known for his ability to launch sustained and repeated attacks on ascents of steep gradient, high power output and great stamina to react and endure others attacks. He is also a decent time trialist, making him a consistent contender for general classification at stage races. His best career results are winning the 2014 Giro d'Italia and 2016 Vuelta a España, as well as 2nd place overall in the Tour de France of 2013 and 2015. In addition to his two Grand Tour victories he has also placed on the podium six times, and come in the top-ten eleven times.

His multiple wins in other major stage races, leading to high UCI WorldTour ranking placements[6] at the end of each season, are other reasons why he is seen as one of the most successful stage-racing riders of the recent era, and the best road cyclist in Colombian history.

13. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) €2m

In August 2019, the Solvenian was put on the startlist for the 2019 Vuelta a España. He won two stages in the 2nd week of the Vuelta and was in a high overall position going into the 3rd week. However, in the final week Nairo Quintana and Miguel Ángel López rode well and in the process jumped him in the standings, knocking him off the podium. Then he took his 3rd stage win in a 40-kilometre (25-mile) solo breakaway on the penultimate stage and gained enough time over his opponents to take over the Young Rider Jersey and climb back into the final podium position before the last stage in Madrid.

He is slated to be on the start list for the 2020 Tour de France and has said he will go into the race with the same mindset he had going into the 2019 Vuelta. "If Aru feels really good we'll go for the Yellow Jersey and I'll support him 100%"

12. Primož Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) €2m

Roglic started his career as a ski jumper but then shifted to cycling.

At the 2017 Tour de France, Roglic became the first Slovenian to win a Tour de France stage. In September 2019, Roglic won the Vuelta a España, becoming the first Slovenian to win a Grand Tour competition.

11. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) €2m

Considered one of the most promising talents in French cycling, he ended third overall in the 2014 Tour de France and first in the young rider classification. He has won stages in all three Grand Tours, with 3 in the Tour de France, 1 in the Giro d'Italia and 2 in the Vuelta a España. Pinot has also won the Giro di Lombardia in 2018 and finished 3rd in the race in 2015.

10. Richard Carapaz (Team Ineos) €2.1m

 In June 2019, Carapaz won the 2019 Giro d'Italia, becoming the first Ecuadorian rider to win the race. He is nicknamed "La Locomotora" (The Locomotive).

9. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) €2.2m

Valverde's biggest wins have been the Vuelta a España in 2009, Critérium du Dauphiné in 2008 and 2009, Tour of the Basque Country in 2017, Volta a Catalunya in 2009, 2017 and 2018, Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2006, 2008, 2015 and 2017, La Flèche Wallonne in 2006, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Clásica de San Sebastián in 2008 and 2014, the 2006 and 2008 UCI ProTours, the 2014 and 2015 UCI World Tours, and the road race in the 2018 World Championships.

Overall, Valverde has 123 professional wins. Prior to his Worlds win, he already held the record for most medals won at World Championships – he twice collected the silver medal in the World Championships, in 2003 and 2005, as well as the bronze four times in 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014. As of 2019, Valverde has placed in the Top 10 of a Grand Tour nineteen times. Valverde is rare in combining different specialities in road bicycle racing, being a strong climbing specialist, sprinter and a good time-trialist. The online database Cycling Ranking ranks him as the 4th best cyclist of all time.

After a lengthy court battle, he was suspended for two years as part of the Operación Puerto blood doping investigation, but he returned to competition in 2012 upon completion of the ban. All his results from 2010 were stripped, including the overall win in the 2010 Tour de Romandie, and he did not compete in 2011.

8. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) €2.3m

In 2019, he cemented his reputation as one of the best and most entertaining riders in the world, nabbing 12 victories across six different countries in the space of just seven months and making winning races look easy, as he contributed to Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s second consecutive triumph in the UCI World Team Classification.

Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, Flèche Wallonne, best climber of the Dauphiné, a brace of stages and 14 spectacular days in the iconic yellow jersey at the Tour de France – where he produced a majestic ride for the ages – were the highlights of Julian’s phenomenal campaign, who in addition to this, showed extraordinary mental power, guts and panache as he transcended sporting results. It’s no wonder that at the end of the year he won the prestigious Velo d’Or, which rewards the best rider in the world.

7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos) €2.5m

One of the classiest riders in the peloton, Michal Kwiatkowski holds a glittering palmares and is one of the sport’s biggest talents, with a world championship, Milan-San Remo and Amstel Gold wins to name just a few of his achievements. Not just a born winner, the Pole is also able to transform himself into a super domestique, helping the team Ineos claim Tour de France victory in the last three seasons.

6. Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) €2.6m

He hails from San Gavino Monreale in Sardinia, and is known for his climbing ability which has made him a favorite for the Grand Tours. He is known as "The Knight of the four Moors" which is a homage to his native island of Sardinia.

Aru has won stages in all three Grand Tours, including 1 stage at the Tour de France, 3 stages at the Giro d'Italia and 2 stages at the Vuelta a España. He is also a former Italian National Road Race champion having won the race in 2017. Alongside his stage wins, Aru has also worn the race leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours. In 2014, Aru placed third overall in the Giro d'Italia and fifth in the Vuelta a España. The following year, he finished second in the Giro d'Italia before taking his first overall Grand Tour win at the Vuelta a España. His best finish at the Tour de France came in 2017 where he was 5th.

5. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) €2.7m

 A Colombian cyclist, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Team Ineos. He won the 2019 Tour de France, becoming the first Latin American winner of the race.

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) €3m

Born near the Strait of Messina, his nickname is the "Shark of the Strait", "the Shark of Messina" or simply "The Shark". His first major win came at the 2006 GP Ouest-France, a UCI ProTour event. However, experts such as Michele Bartoli have said Nibali is most suited to competing in multi-stage races. He is a highly capable descender and bike handler, very good climber and good time trialist. Nibali is an all-rounder, and is considered one of the strongest stage race riders of his era. His biggest wins are the 2010 Vuelta a España, the 2014 Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia twice (2013 and 2016), making him one of seven cyclists who have won the three Grand Tours in their career. He has also won the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Tirreno–Adriatico stage race.

Nibali is most well known for his Grand Tours performances, but he has proven to be a strong contender in classic cycle races as well, having won the 2014 and 2015 Italian National Championships, the GP Ouest–France in 2006 and three 'Monuments' of road bicycle racing: the Giro di Lombardia in 2015 and 2017 and Milan–San Remo in 2018. He has also achieved podiums in Liège–Bastogne–Liège and previous editions of the Milan–San Remo.

3. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) €3.5m

Competing on both track and road. Like compatriot Bradley Wiggins, he is one of the few riders in the modern era to achieve significant elite success as both a track and road rider, with notable victories in the velodrome, in one-day racing and in stage racing. 

In cycling's grand tours, Thomas was initially a lead domestique to Chris Froome in his victories. He won the first stage of the 2017 Tour de France, an individual time trial, to become the first Welshman to wear the Tour's yellow jersey. He later crashed in that race, as well as in the 2017 Giro d'Italia, before winning the 2018 Tour de France. He gained the yellow jersey by winning stage 11, extended his lead by winning stage 12, and retained the lead for the remainder of the event. He became the first Welsh, first British-born and third British rider to win the Tour. In 2018 he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, the fourth cyclist to win the award in that decade. In 2019, he reached the podium again, having finished runner-up in the Tour de France behind Team Ineos teammate Egan Bernal.

2. Chris Froome (Team Ineos) €4.5m

Froome has won several stage races, including four editions of the Tour de France (in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017), the Giro d'Italia in 2018 and the Vuelta a España twice (2011 and 2017). Froome has also won two Olympic bronze medals in road time trials, in 2012 and 2016, and also took bronze in the 2017 World Championships.

Froome is looking to win his 5th Tour de France to join the great Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, have won the most Tours. Can Froome bounce back from injury and have strong team to back him? Is so, it would be the cycling story of the milenium!

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) €5.5m

Sagan is considered one of cycling's greatest talents, having earned many prestigious victories, including three consecutive World Championships, one European Championship, two Paris–Nice stages, seven Tirreno–Adriatico stages, one in the Tour de Romandie, three and the overall classification in the Tour de Pologne, a record seventeen stages and the overall in the Tour of California, and another fifteen in the Tour de Suisse. He has won a number of classics, including the Monument races Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, three Gent–Wevelgem races and E3 Harelbeke, together with sixteen stages in Grand Tours: twelve at the Tour de France and four at the Vuelta a España. After having become the first rider to win the points classification of the Tour de France on his first five attempts, he went on to win it a record seven times, in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Following his win at the 2017 UCI World Road Race Championships, Sagan wore the rainbow jersey for the duration of 2018 for an unprecedented third consecutive season. He currently represents the German team Bora-Hansgrohe, which he joined in 2017.