It was a beautiful day in always sunny Philadelphia as the color guard marched out Old Glory for the start of this year's championship.
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Organizers vow to bring race back in 2014
The US calendar lost one of its oldest one-day events when organizers today announced the cancellation of the 2013 Philadelphia International Cycling Championship.
The iconic event was one of the few remaining cycling road races to take place in a major city in the United States. The course started along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, went along the Schuylkill River, up the Manayunk Wall and over Lemon Hill for a demanding 256km race.
During its 28-year history the event served as the US Pro Championships from 1985 until the move to Greenville, South Carolina in 2006.
It was also one of the only UCI events in the country to feature both men's and women's races at the same time, on the same course. The Liberty Classic was held from 1994-2012.
A press release from the race organization states their intention to bring back the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship in 2014, but makes no mention of the Liberty Classic.
"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," said organizer David Chauner. "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 Philadelphia race was part of the historic "Philly Week" - a series of one-day road races that attracted top domestic and international talent to the region. Races were held in Freehold, Trenton (New Jersey), Lancaster, Reading and Allentown over the years, but all of them vanished one by one.
The events relied largely on sponsorship by banks, first by CoreStates which was acquired by First Union and then Wachovia. Finally Commerce Bank replaced Wachovia in 2006, and then TD Bank took over as title sponsor in 2009.
Philadelphia will not be without top competition in 2013, however. A separate group of organizers announced last year the creation of the Keystone Open, which will take place on July 7, 2013 and have both a men's and women's UCI 1.2 race.