Parx Casino, New Penn Financial to sponsor bike race

Posted: February 08, 2013

PARX CASINO and New Penn Financial have signed on as the two major sponsors for Philadelphia's new professional-cycling race, together pledging $700,000 for this year's race and the next.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady announced Thursday that the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic had secured enough funds to fill the gap left after the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship was canceled due to financial troubles. Parx has promised $500,000, he said, while Penn, a national mortgage-lending firm, signed on for an additional $200,000.

Organizers promised that the planned June 2 race, designed to be shorter and faster than the 156-mile International, would attract top-tier competitors.

"We'll have a great field here of world-class cycling teams," said organizer Richard Adler. He said that he couldn't name any specific competitors until the race date is official and teams are registered.

The future of the International is unclear, but Brady and other Classic supporters hope their race will endure.

"I'm a firm believer that if you lose your traditions, then the city of Philadelphia will lose its identity, and I didn't want that to happen," said Brady, thanking a lengthy list of city officials and business leaders for their support in his campaign to replace the race.

Parx Casino chairman Bob Green called the Classic "the great new tradition in bike racing for the city."

Organizers said that the course should be finalized next week, adding that the Manayunk Wall, a challenging stretch of uphill riding featured in the International, would be preserved.

Brady said that the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union and Sunoco also signed on as lesser sponsors, while others have shown interest and may sign on later. He and other organizers plan to meet with city officials Friday to hammer out details of the city services required for the event.

On Twitter: @jad_sleiman

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