Philly race gets last-minute help

25th Philadelphia International Cycling Championship June 7

The Philadelphia International Cycling Championship got a last minute reprieve from the chopping block on Wednesday thanks to two sponsors who have committed enough funding that organiser Pro Cycling Tour (PCT) felt comfortable going forward with the event on Sunday, June 7. 

The race was in jeopardy due to a US$500,000 budget shortfall.

"We are pleased to report that today we secured enough new sponsorship funding to produce the race as planned, and will announce the event's new partners next week," said Dave Chauner, president of Pro Cycling Tour on the organization's website.

This year will be the 25th edition of the race, which had been the men's US Professional Championships through 2005. While the championship was moved to Greenville, South Carolina, in 2006, the race continues to be an important part of the North American schedule. It is one of only four UCI-ranked one-day races in the United States. The women's Liberty Classic, which takes place simultaneously on the same course is the only women's UCI-categorized race in the US.

Race co-founders Chauner and Jerry Casale scrambled to meet a self-imposed deadline to secure funding this week. Chauner explained to KYW radio that the organisation set the deadline for this past Monday because it needed to arrange contracts with vendors, vehicles, tents, and catering, and racers needed to make travel arrangements for the event.

"The new sponsors are providing enough to ensure we cover the City's cost requirements, prize money and other budget items critical to running the race," said Casale, Chief Operating Officer of Pro Cycling Tour. "But we still need to sell more tickets and merchandise to break even."

The organisers had extended their deadline on Monday after a potential sponsor requested 24 hours to consider a deal. They still face a funding gap and are planning to use sale of VIP tickets to make up the deficit.

PCT last week launched a grassroots effort to raise funds called "Embrace the Race", which aimed to fill the budget gap through the sale of VIP tickets to the event. The campaign raised $100,000 as of last week, but an additional sponsor was needed to assure that the race could go forward.

For more information, visit www.EmbraceTheRace.ticketleap.com.

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