The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic announced today that both the men's and women's races have received an upgraded classification by the UCI for the event's second edition in 2014. Scheduled for Sunday, June 1, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the men's and women's races are now both rated UCI 1.1 after being run as UCI 1.2 races this past June in the event's debut edition. The women's race is also on the 2014 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC).
The 2014 edition of the race will once again focus equally on the men's and women's teams with separate races and starting times as well as equal prize money.
"When we came forward with a new event to continue pro cycling in Philadelphia we also committed to renew the city's great tradition of world-class racing," said Richard Adler of Liberty Sports Development, the event producer. "The feedback following our inaugural event has been overwhelmingly positive, especially with regard to the course changes, which offered a whole new challenge to the teams who have raced here before.
"So we are very pleased that the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic received this upgrade to a 1.1 by the UCI for 2014, making Philadelphia the highest rated one-day race in the USA. This new designation allows us to invite UCI ProTour teams and make other improvements to expand and enhance the status and prestige of this race for teams and sponsors."
The inaugural running of this year's Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic emerged out of the ashes of the venerable Philadelphia International Championship, the USA's premier one-day race which had a 28-year run from 1985 through 2012. From its inception in 1985, won by Eric Heiden, through 2005 the men's event did double duty as the US professional road race championship, last won on the streets of Philadelphia by Chris Wherry. While the US men's road championship moved to Greenville, South Carolina, in 2006, the Philly race continued, as well as the women's Liberty Classic which ran concurrently with the men's race beginning in 1994, through to the 2012 edition.
While the Philadelphia International Championship was cancelled early in 2013, new management plus the backing of Parx Casino ensured that world class one-day racing for both men and women continued in Philadelphia with its familiar locale and calendar position. The bulk of the existing out-and-back parcours along the Schuylkill River was retained from the former event, but the finish line was moved to the top of the route's signature feature, the Manayunk Wall, for the Philly Cycling Classic.
"The Philly Cycling Classic's upgrade to a 1.1 is great news for the sport domestically," said Sean Petty, USA Cycling's Chief of Domestic & International Affairs and member of the UCI Road Commission. "Philadelphia is an iconic stop on the calendar each year. The upgraded classification is a testament to the tremendous work of the organizers as they continue to build on the success of their inaugural event in 2013."
This past June Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) won the 60-mile women's race in a photo finish ahead of Joelle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) while Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) powered away on the Manayunk Wall to win the 120-mile men's race ahead of Jesse Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team).