Philadelphia is getting ready to announce a new organizer to take over the duties of over-seeing the city’s annual Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.
For the past two years, the Philly Cycling Classic was organized and run by Liberty Sports Development — a nonprofit organization that was formed to save the race from extinction.
The upcoming change was disclosed in an email sent out on Tuesday by Liberty Sports Development principals Richard Adler and Alan Morrison. In the email to supporters, Adler and Morrison wrote:
"During the past two years, we proudly invested our time, reputation, personal funds and passion to launch a new tradition of world class cycling to Philadelphia. Our momentum following the 2014 event was stronger than ever, with another great team effort lauded by the Philadelphia region and the international cycling community. We were fully devoted to continue investing and growing the event for the long term and had every expectation that would be the case. Unfortunately, city officials chose to pursue another path and, with only four months to go to the 2015 event, they have made the decision to take 100 percent of the financial risk to produce the event and have removed us from any involvement. We wish them well."
Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Philadelphia Mayo Michael Nutter, said the city recently sent out a request for proposals from organizations to serve as race director for the event.
"We had a number of parties express interest in competing for the slot, and we will be making an announcement shortly," McDonald said.
McDonald declined any additional comment on the matter.
One city administration source said Liberty Sports Development still owes the city a payment for city services provided at last year’s event, but that did not preclude them from responding to the city’s RFP.
Adler and Morrison were not immediately available for comment.
In 2013, the operators of what was known as the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship announced they were canceling that year’s race because of financial difficulties. The city had hosted the international bike race — best known for its grueling Manayunk Wall — for the previous 28 years.
U.S. Rep.Bob Brady of Philadelphia assembled a group of sports event professionals, cycling advocates and business and community leaders to help preserve the professional bike race. Liberty Sports was established by Morrison, an executive and investor in the health care and endurance sports industries, and Adler, the former CEO of Philadelphia Triathlon LLC., to create and produce a new race that became known as the Philly Cycling Classic.
Liberty Sports negotiated six-figure deals with New Penn Financial of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., to serve as founding sponsor, Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa., to serve as title sponsor.
Brady said Tuesday afternoon he was aware the city was taken over control of the race.
"I got involved when it looked like the city might lose the race," Brady said. "I’m glad to see the city is getting more involved with it. My understanding is they are looking to change the course design to bring it back into Center City, which is good."
Mayor Nutter is scheduled to make an announcement Wednesday morning during which time he will disclose the Philadelphia bike share system’s corporate sponsor, the system’s name and the system’s informational website. McDonald said that announcement is not tied to the new race director for the Philly Cycling Classic.
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