By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The co-founder of the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, the pro-cyling race in Philadelphia held each year in early June, has passed away.

The cycling world has lost a true pioneer, friend and mentor. Jerry Casale has died at the age of 71, following a lengthy illness.

Dave Chauner, the other co-founder of the famous Philadelphia race, met Jerry at the Casale family-owned bike shop. “I met him when I was 14, and he gave me my first job putting bikes together up at Hill Cycle in Chestnut Hill.”

They forged a life-long friendship and became business partners in the early 1980’s. “We did over 200 races all over the U.S.”

The most famous is in these parts, and the Ben Franklin Parkway to Manayunk race course.

Chauner says Jerry Casale influenced generations of up and coming riders, as well as all of the folks that put on the bike races. “He was well known, well loved and respected by everybody. He had a terrific manner with people. He knew how to motivate and was a great leader.”

Chauner says Casale had a terrific quality: he made, “Everyone he touched feel important.”

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