Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has 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," he said, "And, it pumps $15 million into the local economy. Losing it was not an option because it means so much to the Delaware Valley. It would be like Boston losing the Boston Marathon."
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. 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.