The Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, which has for the past 28 years annually wound its way through the city – including the infamous "Manayunk Wall" climb – has been cancelled this year, event organizers announced yesterday.
The bike race's creators cited a need for reorganization with an eye toward sustainability. They said the want to give event owners and their sales teams "the best possible opportunity to again make the event the centerpiece of American cycling that it has been known as throughout its glorious history," according to an announcement on the Pro Cycling Tour website.
Organizers expect to bring the race back in 2014.
"We are disappointed that we must remove the race from the calendar in 2013, but we feel that we will be able to reorganize with new partners and make this the preeminent event the region deserves in 2014 and beyond," creator David Chauner said in a statement.
"The race is more than just about cycling; it reflects the spirit and passion of our region through all that have been involved and we are very excited that this adjustment in the calendar will make it even bigger than ever before and sustainable for years to come."
The reincarnated championship slated for 2014 will have the traditional international race, as well as more events for the growing number of recreational cyclists, according to the announcement.
Manayunk Development Corporation executive director Jane Lipton said in a statement today that the cancellation caught the organization "completely by surprise."
"We were given no inkling that there were any issues that would lead to the cancellation of this year's race and we're understandably stunned and saddened by their unilateral decision," she said.
"For the past two years, the Manayunk Development Corporation has worked extremely hard and collaboratively with all parties to make the bike race a more family-friendly event and believe we succeeded in that goal. It has always been our desire to strike a true partnership with the race organizers for the benefit of the race, the spectators and the entire Manayunk community."
She said that the Corporation is today reaching out to race officials to see if there may be a way of saving the 2013 event and to ensure "that all future Philadelphia International Cycling Championships stay here in Manayunk, where they belong."
"Only this community has the iconic 'Manayunk Wall' and it's not going anywhere," she said. "The MDC staff and board are exploring all options to either save the 2013 bike race or plug this one-year gap with a family-friendly event that will retain the excitement and spirit of the race."