April 10, 2006 – Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced that Philadelphia’s 22nd annual International Cycling Championship on Sunday, June 11, will continue with the help of a $400,000 state investment.
“For more than a generation, the world’s best cyclists and their fans have flocked to Philadelphia to enjoy this great athletic competition. And, it pumps $15 million into the local economy,” Governor Rendell said. “Losing it was not an option because it means so much to the Delaware Valley. It would be like Boston losing the Boston Marathon.”
“Pennsylvania is proud that it could help this race survive and I know new sponsors will step forward to keep it going in the future.”
The state’s investment helps replace Wachovia’s long running support after the Charlotte-based bank belatedly opted not to renew its title sponsorship last October. Through bank mergers and acquisitions, title sponsorship passed from CoreStates Financial Corp to First Union in 1998 and from First Union to Wachovia in 2002. Organizers are seeking a long-term corporate sponsor for the event beginning in 2007.
This year will also be the first time an official charity has been selected to become a partner in the event. Fox Chase Cancer Center has signed on for an initial five-year relationship and will benefit from the development of new fund raising events. “Our mutual goals are to extend the success of the Philadelphia race throughout the region, engage greater community participation, and to create for Fox Chase Cancer Center an annual, signature fundraising and educational platform,” said Robert C. Young, M.D., president of Fox Chase Cancer Center. This year’s fund raising focus will be on “Pedal for Prevention,” a family bike ride to be held on the professional race course before the pros hit the streets.
The Philadelphia International Championship Bike Race, heading into its 22nd year and famous for the Manayunk Wall, will this year anchor an all-Pennsylvania “Triple Crown” — a three city international race series with related community events during the first week in June. Triple Crown Events include the Lancaster Classic on June 4, the Reading Classic on June 8 and the Philadelphia International Championship on June 11. Nearly 1000 competitive cyclists in the Elite, Women’s Elite and Professional categories from some 20 nations will compete in the series for prize money totaling $130,000.
The Pennsylvania Triple Crown of Cycling Benefiting Fox Chase Cancer Center will continue to be a major highlight of the annual professional cycling season in the United States, in part because the Philadelphia International Championship will be the highest ranked single day road race in North America as determined by the Union Cycliste International, the world governing body of the sport. All three races will be Pro Cycling Tour events, an expanding national series that will link the best pro races in the country.
While each of the three races will have its own winner and prize list, the emphasis will be on what rider and team can win the overall series, determined by adding up points scored in each race.
Governor Rendell said, “Expanding the Philadelphia International Championship Bike Race, already a highlight of the professional cycling season in the U.S., will make a great new attraction for the Commonwealth in June. We’re using our resources for events like this all over Pennsylvania because they improve the quality of life for people and communities.”
Working closely with city, state and community groups, organizers are committed to creating a week of Triple Crown activities that bring economic benefit to the region and each host venue including a grass roots cycling program for youth, recreational cycling events, significant tie-ins with major charities for fund-raising activities and regional and national television coverage.
The Pennsylvania Triple Crown of Cycling is held under the auspices of Commonwealth International Cycling, a Pennsylvania not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the development of cycling events and programs in Pennsylvania. Pro Cycling Tour, LLC is contracted to manage the event.