City plans to take over annual bike race

 Evelyn Stevens crossing the finish line at the 2014 bike race. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Evelyn Stevens crossing the finish line at the 2014 bike race. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

After two years as the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, the iconic bike race that has zoomed through Northwest Philadelphia for 30 years has again been renamed and reclaimed.

The City of Philadelphia annouced on Wednesday that it would be taking ownership of the race and renaming it the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.

“Philadelphia has been home to one of the nation’s most thrilling and competitive cycling races for 30 years. I am overjoyed that our great cycling tradition is continuing as the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic,” said Mayor Michael Nutter in a statement on Wednesday.

Though final course details have not yet been revealed, the race will fall in step with tradition and start and finish atop the Manayunk Wall at Lyceum Avenue. 

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In the race’s original form, it was known as the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship. In 2013, after 28 years, organizers annouced they were pulling out. Longtime fans and cyclists were shocked. 

In the end, the race went on after Bensalem’s Parx Casino agreed to sponsor the race. Nonprofit Liberty Sports Development was brought in to run the race. 

In an email on Monday, Liberty Sports Development partners Richard Adler and Alan Morrison said the following: 

“During the past two years, we proudly invested our time, reputation, personal funds and passion to launch a new tradition of world class cycling to Philadelphia. Our momentum following the 2014 event was stronger than ever, with another great team effort lauded by the Philadelphia region and the international cycling community. We were fully devoted to continue investing and growing the event for the long term and had every expectation that would be the case. Unfortunately, city officials chose to pursue another path and, with only four months to go to the 2015 event, they have made the decision to take 100 percent of the financial risk to produce the event and have removed us from any involvement. We wish them well.”

The Philadelphia International Cycling Classic will take place on Sunday, June 7 and will feature an amateur course ride and men’s and women’s professional races. 

Additional information will be available on the race’s website beginning March 15. 

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