September 27, 2017
Under a different name and new ownership, the city's popular cycling race looks set for a return to the Manayunk Wall in 2018.
Organizers plan to roll out the Independence Classic in Philadelphia on June 3, Race Director Robin Morton said. The first weekend in June here had traditionally featured the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, which had been the previous incarnation of the race through Manyunk, East Falls, and Fairmount Park.
Like that race, the Independence Classic will be a stop along the International Cycling Union tour with men's and women's races.
In January, organizers abruptly canceled the annual Philadelphia International Cycling Classic for this 2017, citing a lack of funding and rising security costs. The website for the race, which had been scheduled for June 4, still states, "We're taking a break in 2017."
The city of Philadelphia previously owned the event, but race director Robin Morton said a Midwest-based group of investors will own next year's race.
Morton said organizers are set to announce the race soon, and that arrangements are still in the works.
A city spokesman did say Thursday that the city has not yet received a special events application for the race.
The popular 12.3-mile circuit is most infamous for the grueling uphill portion of the course along Levering Street and Lyceum Avenue known as the Manayunk Wall. Morton was unsure if next year's route would stay exactly as is, she said, but added she can't see organizers making any drastic changes.
The Philadelphia International Cycling Championship had been held each year since 1985. Organizers were set to call off the race in 2013 due to rising costs and inadequate funding, but local business leaders and politicians worked to organize a shorter Philly Cycling Classic that summer.
The event continued to run until this summer.
In February, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia petitioned the city to find a way to hold the event this year.
"The PICC is a terrific event that draws tourists and professional cyclists from around the world and millions of dollars of revenue to the city and small businesses in Manayunk," the petition stated. "Philadelphians love this race because it puts Philadelphia on the map as a world-class city for road cycling and racing and shows off the region's trail network, the circuit trails and its unparalleled Schuylkill River Trail."
This story was updated on Sept. 27 to include a comment from a Philadelphia spokesman who said the city had not yet received a special events application for the Independence Classic.