By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time since 1985, there will not be a pro cycling race in Philadelphia the first weekend in June. The startling revelation came on Monday from the organizer who mapped the course behind the Philadelphia International Championship. And while they hope to revive it next year, there’s late word that Congressman Bob Brady is trying to arrange a meeting for later this week, to try to save this year’s race.
Race co-founder David Chauner says he’s ‘disappointed’ that they must remove the race from the calendar in 2013.
“I think the economy has a lot to do with it,” he says. “We had a great relationship with TD Bank for the last four years, but their contract was up after the 2012 event, and they’ve elected to move on to other things.”
But the plan is to ‘reorganize with new partners,’ and return the following year.
“We’ve got a year to reorganize and restructure,” Chauner says. “We’re working with some key partners that are anxious to help us revive the race in 2014.”
A title sponsor for the bike race typically comes up with at least 60% of the race’s $1.5 million cost.
Executive Director Jane Lipton of the Manayunk Development Corporation also notes city services costs for putting on the bike race have increased over the last several years. Since 2009, the Nutter Administration began a policy that charges event organizers for police and other costs related to special events, due to the city’s financial constraints.
The Manayunk Development Corporation says it will try to put on some sort of recreational event to mark that race weekend.
The Philadelphia International Championship was first introduced back in 1985 as the CoreStates US PRO Championship and attracted top racers from 30 countries. Since then, there have been several corporate sponsors. More than 100,000 people flocked to the city to watch the 156-mile, six-hour course that spanned the Parkway, Fairmount Park, Lemon Hill and, of course, Manayunk. Last year the race was shortened to 124 miles.
Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman, Mark McDonald, says the city will respond to the decision to cancel this year’s race on Tuesday.