It all started with this tweet by @whityost:
ó Whit Yost (@whityost) February 25, 2014
While many people liked it and retweeted it, others put the question out: why isnít there a similar list of the top women earners of the sport? It was a good question and it got me thinking, maybe it would be possible to pull together a list of all the results and then match it up against the public prize money figures.
Getting all the results was easy: I fired an email over to Sebastien at cxstats.com, and asked him if he could help me out with the data. He was kind enough to export the results of all womenís races this year in an excel spreadsheet. By the way, make sure to check out his site, great collection of cyclocross results, imagine cqranking, only for cross.
I had this huge pile of data and there was no way that I could have paired it all up manually with the prize data. This is where Dan Seaton, the great VeloNews writer and photographer stepped in.
Dan, being a scientist, made the above mentioned task look not only easy but he also went through most available sources meticulously and nailed down the details as accurately as possible. Here is how he did it:
I took Sebastienís results database and cross-referenced every result from every race against the UCI minimum payouts for women. †Of course, some races pay better than the UCI minimums, and I tried to track down as many of those as I could and include that prize money as well. †I also gathered all of the series results whose payouts I could find ó the World Cup, bpost Bank Trofee, CX After Dark, the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross Calendar, and the Shimano NEPCX series ó and included those as well.
I wrote a program that went through all six hundred women in Sebastienís database and totaled their earnings from individual races, series, and championships. †There are some flaws in the analysis. †Despite my best efforts, we are missing payouts for national championships in a number of countries. (The UK, Netherlands, Italy, France, and the Czech Republic all proved hard to track down.) †We are also missing at least a few series, either because they didnít publish their prize list in an easy-to-find location or because I simply didnít know about them at all.
Still I think these numbers give a pretty good idea of how much cyclocrossí best women earn. †Only the top 300 women earned any money at all and most of those earned only pocket change. †Meanwhile, only the top 22 managed to crack the Ä2000 mark. †No woman earned as much as anybody in the top ten among the men, and Sven Nys, the top menís winner, earned five times as much as Katie Compton, the top woman. †Of course, if we had included start money, the disparity would be even more stark. †Reports are that Nysí start money would quintuple his total earnings on the year.
So, as you can see, the numbes below are not perfect, there is room for error, but it shows a general picture how much the top women riders earn roughly – and it also shows, how painfully big the gap is, without even metioning start money.
Have a look and let us know if you think the numbers are too high, too low or if we just got it totally wrong.
I would like to thank Sebastien de Cock for providing all the data and a lot of props go to Dan Seaton to actually putting the list together.
And now, without further ado, the numbers – click on the image to see full size: