Bike-race organizers owe Philly $321,000 for 2012 event

The pros having their go in 2007. There'll be a new race this year.
The pros having their go in 2007. There'll be a new race this year. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 24, 2013

MANAGERS of the famous Philadelphia International Cycling Championship owe the city big bucks from last year's race, including costs for cops and cleanup, according to the event's founder and city officials.

Pro Cycling Tour announced Monday that it was canceling the annual race in Manayunk - initially scheduled for June 2 - due to rising costs and a loss in sponsorship. The group still owes $321,000 for the 2012 race, for traffic control, sanitation, police and emergency management, Fairmount Park event support and food-service inspection, said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald. The organization has so far paid the city $25,000.

Mayor Nutter expressed disappointment in the cancellation. "We are a first-class city, and we deserve a first-class pro cycling race that is fiscally sustainable and professionally administered," Nutter said in a statement Tuesday.

David Chauner, founder of the event and chief executive of the Pro Cycling Tour, said the group's attorney sent a letter to the city to set up a payment plan in November but had not heard back. McDonald said the city met with the group last fall and had wanted to discuss this year's race despite the outstanding bill.

Keystone Open, a bicycle race that was set to be held in the city for the first time this year, also was canceled after difficulty in getting sponsors.

Organizers for the Manayunk race and Nutter said that they planned to revive the event in 2014. But U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, known to be a mediator on major city issues, has planned a meeting Friday with the key players in an effort to save what this year would be the 29th annual championship race, said Brady spokesman Ken Smukler.

It's a tough time financially for many sporting events, Chauner said, adding that it's been "challenging over the years to make ends meet."

In the past, the organization had enough cash flow to cover costs, Chauner said, but in December he notified USA Cycling of the event's possible cancellation. Previously, sponsors provided between $1.2 million and $1.5 million for the race. TD Bank, a major sponsor, decided not to renew its title sponsorship this year.

Additionally, city costs have increased about 64 percent since 2009, due in part to contractural raises for police. Manayunk residents also have complained about traffic congestion and public drinking during the race, which led to the assignment of extra police for the event.

Chauner said he hopes to negotiate costs and city services for future races.

"It's a tough thing. It's very expensive," said Micah Rice, vice president of national events for USA Cycling. "The city probably doesn't have the money to do that."


On Twitter: @Jan_Ransom

Blog: PhillyClout.com

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