Organizers of the inaugural Keystone Open in Philadelphia confirmed today that they have canceled their men's and women's UCI-sanctioned NRC race in July because they determined the event is not financially viable this year.
"After consulting with the City of Philadelphia, we informed [USA Cycling] last Friday that we will have to cancel the event for 2013," race director Robin Morton told Cyclingnews Monday in an email. "While we are eager to produce an event in Philadelphia, we are unwilling to do so if it is not financially feasible."
The news comes one day after organizers of the 28-year-old Philadelphia International Cycling Championship and its NRC women's race, the Liberty Classic, announced that the early June races would not return in 2013.
The Keystone Open was originally scheduled for July 7 in conjunction with the Jerry Casale Memorial Ride benefiting ACS. Promoters had hoped to feature the women in a stand-alone event, which would have run prior to the men's and featured equal prize money. After the June races were canceled, Morton said, USAC asked the Keystone Open to move to the June 2 date.
Morton said failure to pin down a date, combined with the current extremely negative perception about cycling and the expense of shutting down Philadelphia roads for a day, left organizers short of the sponsorship funds necessary to run the race.
"It's expensive to close down the City of Philadelphia for the amount of time required to put on a bike race," Morton said, adding that the City of Philadelphia has been very supportive of the event. "In order to reduce these costs, we have been working closely with them on shortening the route, holding the men's and women's simultaneously (which we do not want to do) and eliminating the Jerry Casale ride."
But promoters decided implementing any of those cost-cutting measures would compromise the project, Morton said, and so they decided to cancel the 2013 event and to focus on making the race happen next year.
"Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging, and we are very appreciative," Morton said. "We are regrouping and are continue to work on the event for 2014."