Manayunk set for Philly Cycling Classic bike race

Looking forward to the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic are (from left): City Councilman Dennis O'Brien; Jamie Bookwalter of the Colavita/Fine Cooking pro cycling team; Theresa Cliff-Ryan of Fearless Femme Racing; Lindsay Bayer of Colavita/Fine Cooking; Kimberley Wells of Fearless Femme Racing; Karen Bliss, vice president of Advanced Sports Inc.; and Joe Wentzell, owner of Breakaway Bikes.
Looking forward to the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic are (from left): City Councilman Dennis O'Brien; Jamie Bookwalter of the Colavita/Fine Cooking pro cycling team; Theresa Cliff-Ryan of Fearless Femme Racing; Lindsay Bayer of Colavita/Fine Cooking; Kimberley Wells of Fearless Femme Racing; Karen Bliss, vice president of Advanced Sports Inc.; and Joe Wentzell, owner of Breakaway Bikes. (                  ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 31, 2013

It's still cycling, but the name has changed, and so have the course and the scheduling for the inaugural Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, which takes place Sunday.

What is unlikely to change is the enthusiasm of the Philadelphia cycling community, and organizers said they hope that more than 100,000 spectators will see at least part of the 120-mile men's race and 60-mile women's race.

The 12-mile course winds through Roxborough and East Falls, heading down Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill to Strawberry Mansion and Lemon Hill before returning to Manayunk along Main Street.

In the past, the race would end at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. But now it concludes at the grueling Manayunk Wall at Levering Street and Lyceum Avenue.

That is one of the major differences between this race and its predecessor of 28 years. Known last year as the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, that race was discontinued when its title sponsor did not renew.

This year's race, sanctioned by both the International Cycling Union and USA Cycling, is run by new organizers, and Parx Casino has made a two-year commitment as the title sponsor.

The current organizers got involved in January. And even though it usually takes twice as much preparation time to put on a race of this magnitude, they decided to stage it this year.

"I don't think we would have stepped in to do this if we didn't feel the history of cycling in the city of Philadelphia was important," said Richard Adler, vice president of the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic. "We felt when the opportunity presented itself that it was important to the sport, the governing body of the sport - both domestically and internationally - to have a top-five market in the United States host."

In the past, the men started and the women would begin during that race. This year, there will be separate races. The women will ride 60 miles beginning at 8:30 a.m., making the 12-mile trek five times. The men will race 120 miles and start at noon.

The women and men will share equal prize money from the $60,000 purse.

"We felt one of the key things was equality in racing itself and prize money, and while the women's event is still somewhat shorter, at the same time it is just as difficult," race director Robin Morton said. "We wanted to make sure there was parity for men and women.

"The women are extremely excited, and it gives them and their sponsors a chance to be featured and not rushed under the rug, and they will be getting the same amount of exposure."

According to Morton, there will be 198 men competing among 25 teams. There will be 125 women on 21 teams, and organizers say there will be riders from 17 countries.

The men's and women's winners will each earn $5,000. There is also a $5,000 prize each for the king and queen of the mountain, in which points are awarded for the various climbing locations on Lemon Hill and the Manayunk Wall. There also will be a $2,500 first sprint prize awarded for how well riders fare at the sprint locations on Main Street and Cotton Street in Manayunk.


Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic

What: The inaugural Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic

When: Sunday

Schedule: Women's pro race, 8:30 a.m.; men's pro race, noon.

Course: 12-mile circuit. Men's race is 10 laps for 120 miles, women's race five laps for 60 miles. The start and finish are at the "Manayunk Wall." The rest is on Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill to Strawberry Mansion and Lemon Hill, then returning to Manayunk along Main Street.

    Web Site:phillycyclingclassic.org


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com.


 

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