Cyclists from around the world are gearing up to climb the Manayunk Wall at the Philadelphia Cycling Classic, a UCI 1.1 men’s event held on June 1 in Pennsylvania. Last year’s winner Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) will be on the start line to defend his title.
The event is only in its second edition but is widely popular amongst the US peloton, having replaced the cancelled Philadelphia Cycling Championships for the first time last year. Although new race organizers created a new course, they kept the previous one’s main attractions: Lemon Hill, Strawberry Mansion, Kelly Drive and of course — Manayunk Wall.
The field will race along a 19.2km circuit, completing 10 laps for a total of 192km. The major change? For the second time, the race starts and finishes at the top of “The Wall,” favoring the powerful climbers more than the pure sprinters as it did with the previous finish along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where riders like Matthew Goss, Andre Greipel, Juan Jose Haedo, Greg Henderson and Fred Rodriguez (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis), among others, were successful.
This year, Reijnen returns with backing from teammates Marc de Maar, who recently placed second overall at the Tour of Norway, Paris-Roubaix breakaway rider John Murphy and La Flèche Wallonne breakaway rider Jonny Clarke.
UnitedHealthcare will have its work cut out for them in trying to contain riders like Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), who recently won a stage and the King of the Mountain competition at the Tour of California, and Jesse Anthony, who was runner-up last year. Joseph Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development) is also on target to have a good performance after winning the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and he placed third last year.
Blaz Jarc (NetApp-Endura), Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk), Jonathan Cantwell (Drapac Professional Cycling) are also strong contenders among the professional continental teams in attendance. Michael Woods will lead the Amore & Vita team after respectable performances this spring on the Italian circuit.
Christina Watches-Dana’s Stefan Schumacher will make an appearance on the start line. The German cyclist won Amstel Gold and secured the bronze medal at road worlds in 2007, along with a stage win at the Giro d’Italia the previous year. He served a suspension for testing positive during the 2008 Tour de France and Olympic Games and retuned to the sport in the 2010 season.
Jamis-Hagens Berman is bringing series of notable climbs with Robbie Squire, Daniel Jaramillo and Matt Cooke. Team SmartStop's presence at the race will not go unnoticed with its new national champion Eric Marcotte and runner-up in the road race Travis McCabe, who are expected to race aggressively.
The men will be racing for $31,000, along with $5,000 for the KOM. The top under-23 rider will receive the The Jerry Casale Memorial Award.
Men’s pro continental teams include Drapac Professional Cycling, Team NetApp-Endura, Team Novo Nordisk and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Men’s continental teams include 5-Hour Energy-Kenda, Airgas Pro Cycling, Amore & Vita Selle SMP, Astellas Cycling, Champion System-Stan’s NoTubes, Christina Watches Kuma, Budget Fork Lifts, Hincapie Sportswear, Incycle -Predator Components, Jamis-Hagens Berman, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Quebecor Garneau, Silbor Pro Cycling and Smartstop p/b Mountain Khakis.