The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has confirmed that the both men’s and women’s editions of the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic have been cancelled for 2017 due to "difficulty attracting sponsor financial support”.
The women’s race was part of the WorldTour calendar for 2017, while the men’s race was one of the last remaining one-day road races on the US racing calendar. The race dates back to 1985, and served as the men's professional national championships until 2006. The women's race was added in 1994, and was part of the UCI Women's World Cup until 2001.
The race was taken over by new management following the 2012 edition, and its formula changed from a finish on Benjamin Franklin Parkway to an uphill finish on the notorious Manayunk Wall.
Evelyn Stevens and Kiel Reijnen won the first two editions with the new format before it was added to the UCI Women's WorldTour in 2015. Lizzie Deignan (neé Armitstead) won the first WorldTour edition, while last season Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) followed up her Tour of California and US Pro Road Race victories with an astounding bottom-to-top attack up the Manayunk Wall. Eduard Prades gave Caja Rural Seguros-RGA their second consecutive victory in the 2016 men's race.
In a brief message on the race website, race organises said the city of Philadelphia has not ruled out "pursuing opportunities for a potential return in 2018.”
"Regrettably, even after extensive fundraising efforts, we were not able to find enough sponsors interested in covering the $1 million cost of the bike race to host it this year,” said City of Philadelphia Managing Director Michael Di Berardinis in a statement.
“The decision did not come easy for the City of Philadelphia,” said Race Director Robin Morton of g4 Productions, “We’ve been moving forward with plans for the race and changes to the course for months. We are keeping our hopes high for PICC to return next year.”
The demise of the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic is the latest of several races to be cancelled. In December the UCI announced the the women’s and men’s editions of the Tour of Qatar had been cancelled due to a lack of financial support.
The women’s Philadelphia International Cycling was scheduled for June 4 between the Tour of California (May 11-14) and the Aviva Women’s Tour (June 7-11). The loss of the women’s Philadelphia International Cycling could also damage the UCI 1.1-ranked Winston-Salem Cycling Classic (May 29), giving European-based riders less incentive to make the trip to the USA.
Despite the loss of several races in the US calendar recently USA Cycling’s Vice President of National Events Micah Rice tried to stay optimistic. The UCI published its 2017 road calendars last October, confirming two new men's races in the USA for the coming season as part of its UCI Americas Tour circuit. The four-day Colorado Classic is set for August 10-13, with the four-day Commonwealth Cycling Classic in Virginia, from August 24-27. However the latter event has still to be confirmed.
“We were saddened to learn that the Philadelphia Cycling Classic will not be returning in 2017,” Rice said in the statement issued by the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic organisers.
“This event has been a cornerstone of the US professional racing landscape for over three decades. While it is the nature of major events to sometimes run their course, we are excited about the overall health of the US domestic racing calendar and the addition of other quality races. We hope that the City of Philadelphia will be able to bring back this prestigious event in the future.”