Petition launched to bring back Philadelphia International Cycling Classic

The Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, a UCI 1.1 event, won't run this year because of a funding shortfall.

A petition has been set up to ensure the survival of one of America's most prestigious races, the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.

It was announced at the end of January that the early June event would not go ahead this year because organisers had been unable to find sponsors willing to contribute towards the running of the race that costs $1m to hold.

Famed for the 17 percent gradient climb of Manayunk Wall, the UCI 1.1 race has been run since 1985. Winners have included Lance Armstrong, Sean Yates and André Greipel.

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The women's version, of which the first edition was in 2013, was won by Lizzie Deignan in 2015 and was awarded Women's WorldTour status last year.

However, if the scarcity of sponsors doesn't improve, it is doubtful that the race will return to the streets of Philadelphia.

A petition has been set up, which appeals to the local mayor. It says: "Dear Mayor Jim Kenney and Representative Bob Brady, we appeal to you to find a way to bring back the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic (PICC) this year.

"We fully support the city hosting the PICC on June 4, 2017. 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.

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.

"All who sign this petition support bringing back the PICC in 2017 and encourage you to find a way make it possible."

Organisers themselves are hopeful that the race will return to the calendar, saying that the "city has not ruled out pursuing opportunities for a potential return in 2018."

USA Cycling’s vice president of national events Micah Rice said. “This event has been a cornerstone of the US professional racing landscape for over three decades.  We hope that the city of Philadelphia will be able to bring back this prestigious event in the future.”