PHILADELPHIA, PA (BRAIN) — The mayor of Philadelphia said Tuesday that he will work to bring "a major pro cycling event" back to the city as soon as next year. Organizers of the long-running Philadelphia International Cycling Championship had announced earlier the same day that this year's race will be canceled due to lack of sponsorship.
But Mayor Michael A. Nutter said the race, or something like it, will be back.
"I want all who are devoted to cycling to know that we are committed to working with the very best promoters to develop a complete event in 2014 that will re-establish our city as a world-class cycling destination,” Nutter said.
The city has increased funding for bike infrastructure, including more bike lanes, and intends to roll out a bike share program early next year. Nutter said the intention is to become "the greenest city in America."
“I want to be very clear about where we are headed,” Nutter said. “We are a first-class city and we deserve a first-class pro cycling race that is fiscally sustainable and professionally administered. The city will engage in the appropriate due diligence, conferring with a wide range of people in the racing world to achieve that goal.”
The race was first held in 1995. It's among the highest-ranked UCI-registered road races in the country, and at 199.6 kilometers (124 miles), also one of the longest pro races. Until 2005, the race served as the U.S. professional men's road race championships. Since then, USA Cycling has held the road championships in Greenville, South Carolina, until this year, when the organization will hold the races in Chattanooga, Tennessee.