the no minimum wage seems a lot like a legalization of "under the table" payments and/or guys selling used stuff to have an income (I guess I read this second "option" on Gaimon's blog).
The minimum is tricky too, wasn't last year or few years ago that they found some teams using "double" contracts? Also this was written in Millar's book.
Minimum wage with a (substantial) part that goes to taxes, retirement fund, etc etc...and a "separate" under the table contract just with net (no taxes).
The economics of (most) salary negotiations have been pretty well studied, and essentially a large part of the reason why in MANY sports the base level is very low is an application of the "bread today, Jam tomorrow" principle, the idea is that NeoPros are willing to accept very low levels as the payout of eventual "success" is very high - in the case of sports this has a magnified effect due to sponsorships, endorsements and, increasingly, payments for turning up at Sportives.
US Pro sports are not a good comparison as, given the franchise model which is designed to keep owners in the money, coupled with collective negotiations and salary caps, you've essentially got an oligopoly, not a free market.
A more realistic comparison for Pro Cyclists may be found in the salary pyramid of drug dealers, like here http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_levitt_ ... _economics