How much does a rider earn?

Lambo bike

The simple answer is €218,000, about  US$305,000. But before you rush out the door for a training session, note this is the average salary in the bunch and averages ignore detail. Simply put a few riders earn millions whilst most collect more modest pay.

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Divorce in the Kingdom: Omega, Lotto and Gilbert

Not all marriages last. Today came confirmation of a split in the Kingdom of Belgium between Omega Pharma and the Belgian lottery, Lotto. Both are long term sponsors of pro cycling. Omega boss Marc Coucke is a big fan of the sport and cycling is the most popular sport in Belgium, meaning the state lottery is almost obliged to get involved.

Reynders + Gilbert
Reynders and Gilbert: a classic "politician with sportsman" pose... or is there more to it?

But there’s a twist, as explained by Greg Ienco of Cyclisme Revue. Lotto is effectively under the control of Belgian politician Didier Reynders. He’s perhaps the top representative of the Walloon region, being both deputy prime minister and finance minister. Plus as there’s still no government, he was also an informateur, a role appointed by the King to help form a government but like others, couldn’t get a parliamentary majority in place. Put simply, Reynders is big in Belgium.

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Gilbert stamps his foot

Philippe Gilbert’s long been a vocal critic of doping. From the early days with FDJ to the present, when he fronts a video campaign for the Walloon regional government’s anti-doping campaign.

If you’re wondering what he’s saying, it’s “Hello, I’m Philippe Gilbert. Cycling is my whole life. I’ve been passionate about it for 15 years and a pro for nine… Be strong, respect the rules and your win is without doping“.

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On Philippe Gilbert

Gilbert Liege

I’ve rarely seen a race like Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Philippe Gilbert started as the race favourite… and Belgium’s favourite star too. Warm weather brought big crowds to the roadside but they’d come to see their son shine.

When the Schleck brothers attacked the move looked useful but only Gilbert went, the others seemed unable to follow. Given nobody else would let Gilbert get a gap but all the same, the move didn’t look devastatingly powerful on TV.

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Gilbert vs. the rest

Gilbert Huy

I don’t know where to start, but Philippe Gilbert is surely the most impressive rider of the spring. Cancellara was strong but couldn’t deliver a win; Nuyens and Goss were clever. But for raw power uphill, Gilbert is looking invincible. I wasn’t sure if he could win the Flèche Wallonne but he looked fresh as the bunch tackled the penultimate climb, with riders like Alberto Contador grimacing.

There were doubts in the Flemish classics earlier. He took the Montepaschi Strade Bianche but then seemed a little bit off the pace although that’s relative given he was on the attack over the Bosberg. Some were asking if he was going to miss out on his spring classics campaign.

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Cartoons from the weekend

The sketch is by Marec, resident cartoonist of Het Nieuwsblad who normally does politics. But the weekend racing is front page news in Belgium. The scene depicts Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert as Belgian dunces who lost out and both are thinking “we’ve got ears after all”. Like most jokes, when you have to explain … Read more

What do the pros ride?

A question on Twitter last Thursday got me thinking: “name the last rider to win a Classic using an Aluminium frameset”. I was thinking of strange win from way back… until I remembered Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian won the Amstel Gold and the Tour of Lombardy on an aluminium frame. This was then a subject … Read more

Rider of the Year

The season’s over and soon the retrospection begins. One of the most prestigious prizes available is the Vélo d’Or from France’s Vélo Magazine. Meaning “golden bike”, it is determined by a vote from journalists around the world who send in their picks.Alberto Contador was the winner last year but despite several impressive results this year, … Read more

Lombardia Preview: how to beat Gilbert

He’s the red hot favourite for Saturday’s Giro di Lombardia. But cycling is a very open sport where favourites only find the odds mildly in their favour. As we saw in the World Championships, you can be the strongest but not get a result: Gilbert tried but ultimately tried too hard. But give the Belgian … Read more

What’s Philippe Gilbert doing?

Has Philippe Gilbert signed with Footon-Servetto and adopted their tan leisure wear? No, fear not. The Belgian rider got married over the weekend to Patricia Zeevaert. You can see a small gallery of images, including the stunning bride, from the wedding online here.