PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pro cyclists from 30 countries are in Philadelphia for Sunday’s big Philadelphia International Championship.
You may have noticed them in groups of 8-to-10 in their colorful jerseys out testing the race course between the Ben Franklin Parkway and Manayunk.
Unlike mostly European races that are done in stages over 5-7 days or some grand tours that last three weeks, this is a one day classic. It’s a grueling 156-mile race that requires the men to go up the Manayunk wall, side streets in that neighborhood, ten times.
Race announcer Michael Aisner had a chance to speak with one of the contenders, Germany’s Robert Forster, who had a big smile on his face, as Aisner tried to shake things up.
(Aisner) “So you just have to be scared to death of this wall and this great one day race that’s been going on for so long?”
(Forster) “Yeah, I’m scared.”
Ten minutes after the men begin their day in the saddle, women line up for the Liberty Classic on the Parkway, for a 57-mile race.
Theresa Cliff-Ryan, who now lives in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, finished third last year. “The fans are just awesome here in Philly; for a good 2.5 hours, we feel like rock stars.”
They do the same Manayunk Wall, the 17% gradient hill, four times.
Reported By Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio