2013 Philadelphia International Cycling Championship canceled
The 29th annual Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, originally scheduled for June 2, 2013, was canceled by race organizers Sunday in a move that caught many by surprise. The highly-regarded race had been the longest running cycling road race in the United States.
The announcement stunned some in Manayunk, who are vowing to find a way of saving the race, which has made the community's iconic "wall" famous - or infamous - in racing circles.
At last year's event, competitors raced down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Kelly Drive before climbing the Manayunk Wall, finishing at Logan's Circle. The men's race checked in at 124 miles; the women's race measured 60 miles.
Race organizers released a statement on the cancellation and plans to continue the race in 2014 on the Pro Cycling Tour website:
"We are disappointed that we must remove the race from the calendar in 2013, but we feel that we will be able to reorganize with new partners and make this the preeminent event the region deserves in 2014 and beyond," said David Chauner, a former Olympic cyclist and one of the creators of the event. "The race is more than just about cycling; it reflects the spirit and passion of our region through all that have been involved and we are very excited that this adjustment in the calendar will make it even bigger than ever before and sustainable for years to come."
However, there is still hope for fans wanting to see a cycling race this summer in Philadelphia. According to Cycling News, a separate race is already in the works:
"Philadelphia will not be without top competition in 2013, however. A separate group of organizers announced last year the creation of the Keystone Open, which will take place on July 7, 2013 and have both a men's and women's UCI 1.2 race."
The Manayunk Development Corporation says it was caught off-guard by the news of the cancellation, and is vowing to look for ways of saving the event, executive director Jane Lipton said in a statement this morning.
"The decision by the organizers of the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship to cancel the 2013 event caught us completely by surprise. We were given no inkling that there were any issues that would lead to the cancellation of this year's race and we're understandably stunned and saddened by their unilateral decision," Lipton said.
She said the development corporation had worked for two years with those involved in the race.
"We are reaching out today to race officials to determine if there may be a way of salvaging the 2013 event and to ensure that all future Philadelphia International Cycling Championships stay here in Manayunk, where they belong," the statement said.
She said on option might be the organization of an "event that will retain the excitement and spirit of the race."