Threshold faces final hurdle for Philly series

Bills paid, UCI approval awaits but ProTour teams stay away

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Since the completion of last year's USPRO championship, various events have cast doubt on the future of the Philadelphia race series that had traditionally hosted the race. First came the sudden loss of the race sponsor after more than twenty years of consistent sponsorship. Then came complaints that teams were not being paid on time by race organisers Threshold Sports, which had the potential to stop the 2006 event from happening at all as UCI and USA Cycling regulations stop a promoting company from running a race if it still owes teams from the previous year. Finally, the loss of the USPRO race made many people think that Philly was done for.

Nevertheless, Threshold Sports has always maintained that the series would happen this year, and things definitely looked rosier after the recent announcement that the state of Pennsylvania would kick-in $400,000.

USA Cycling's Chief of Staff Sean Petty told Cyclingnews that as far as he could see, this years races were good to go. "We have, as far as we know, the teams have been paid... the UCI has been paid and we have been paid," said Petty. "You hate to see [payment problems] because it's been a great race with good organisation. But it was important to get the teams paid as well. Now that we are there we can hopefully move ahead in a positive direction."

Threshold's CEO Dave Chauner told Cyclingnews that the problem was merely a misunderstanding. "[The payments] were completed before the end of last year," Chauner explained. "There were a couple of cheques that came back to us because we had the wrong address. It took us a while to find teams. The cheques kept coming back from different addresses. I saw the email a few days ago that the teams finally got them. It's so ridiculous, they make it look like it is our fault."

But with the bill payment hurdle apparently passed, another comes up. "What we have to do now is get the Reading race on the UCI calendar," said Petty. "We were waiting until we got all the payments in to make the request. And this late you never know. We have Trenton in there now but we waited to make the request from the UCI until everything was paid. If it does, the question then is what category is it?"

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