Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

July 30, 2016

In today’s CT Daily News Digest: Valgren wins stage and takes over lead at Tour of Denmark; Gavazzi wins stage 2 in Portugal; Vasylyuk wins Qinghai Lake time trial; New gene doping test to be retroactively applied to Rio Olympic samples; UCI bars three Russian cyclists from Rio Olympics, three more removed; Contador already back in action on Saturday; UCI President Brian Cookson on La Course, developing women’s cycling and Rio predictions; Cold-Blooded: Tanner Putt born to race the Classics; Can success be bought in pro cycling? A look at team budgets and the value equation; Sagan signing to launch BORA team to WorldTour; The cost of being an Olympian; Racers finish Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme race; Focus on La Course by Le Tour de France; BORA-Argon18’s 10th rider

The cost of being an Olympian

by CyclingTips

The financial struggle for some of the world’s best athletes is lesser-known, as many sports are only highlighted every four years during the Olympics. American track racer Bobby Lea talks about the real life issues of competing in a sport that is not followed by many in his home country.

Bobby Lea
Here is an excerpt:

Although the Olympics might seem like a gateway to a bright future, that won’t necessarily be true for Lea. At 32, he’s nearing the end of his professional cycling career. He’s a top-level competitor, one of the hottest prospects on the 2016 cycling team, but he’s no Lance Armstrong. His spe­cialty—track cycling, not road racing—is obscure and has a limited fan base. Fame and fortune of the kind that have been showered on Olympians like Michael Phelps is simply not going to happen. Lea won’t be on a Wheaties box. He won’t guest-host Saturday Night Live. As, in fact, is the case for most Olympic athletes, there’s no pot of gold at the end of his rainbow.

Actually, for Lea, cycling has been less like a pot of gold than a money pit. The most he’s ever earned in a year is $32,500. He has $10,000 in the bank, zero retirement savings, and $19,400 in credit card debt. His parents have spent tens of thousands of dollars supporting his efforts, on everything from tires to legal bills arising from a doping scandal last year—one that got him suspended from cycling and threatened to end his career. While Lea successfully appealed his punishment (he’d taken an approved drug at an unapproved time) and was named to the Olympic team, sponsors backed off, cutting away at his already meager income.

Facing these financial challenges, Lea, a lean, taciturn 6-footer, has no idea how he’ll support himself once he retires from competition. Other than cycling, the only job he has ever had was a three-month stint at age 17 making subs at a gas station.

Click through to read more at Money.