With a new sponsor, a new course, a new starting order and a new name, one of Philly’s proudest traditions returned on Sunday.
The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic took to the streets of Philadelphia today with big changes.
The biggest changes were to the course.
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The iconic Manayunk Wall and Fairmount Park’s Lemon Hill remained part of the bike race this year but the course had plenty of changes including the finish line moving from near the Philadelphia Museum of Art to near the top of the Wall on Lyceum Avenue in Manayunk.
In fact, the new 12-mile course no longer included any part of the Ben Franklin Parkway. The course went down Manayunk Avenue, down Kelly Drive to Boathouse Row, around Lemon Hill back up Kelly Drive to Main Street in Manayunk and then up Levering Street.
Some street closures in the area of the start and finish lines already began Friday afternoon.
The race almost didn’t happen this year due to sponsorship issues and a lack of money, but new sponsor Parx Casino stepped in to pony up the money needed to bring the pro cycling event that draws hundreds of competitors from dozens of teams from 17 different countries to town to compete for part of a $60,000 purse.
A big change to the actual race this year was the distance. The women’s race consisted of five 12-mile loops while the men’s race had 10 loops. The women’s and men’s races also didn't overlap as the women started around 8:30 a.m. and finished about 30 minutes before the men’s race began at noon.
As always, big crowds packed the streets of Manayunk for the parties associated with bike race day.
These are some of the road closures, according to race organizers:
ALONG THE COURSE:
- Main Street from Green Lane to Ridge Avenue
- Lyceum Avenue from Levering Street to Mitchell Street
- Pechin Street from Green Lane to Roxborough Avenue
- Roxborough Avenue from Pechin Street to Manayunk Avenue
- Manayunk Avenue from Roxborough Avenue to Ridge Avenue
- Ridge Avenue from Manayunk Avenue to Kelly Drive
- Cresson Street from Levering Street to Rector Street
NEAR THE COURSE:
- 100 block of Shurs Lane
- 100 block of Jamestown Street
- 100 block of Pensdale Street
- Unit block of Rector Street
- 100 block of Roxborough Avenue
- Unit block of Cotton Street
- 100 block of Grape Street
- 100 block of Levering Street
- 100 block of Gay Street
- 100 block of Connaroe Street
- 100 block of Carson Street
- 300 block of Burnside Street
- Lyceum Avenue from Mitchell Street to Ridge Avenue
- Rector Street from Terrace Street to Pechin Street
- Pensdale Street from Terrace Street to Lauriston Street
- Kingsley Street from Manayunk Avenue to Lauriston Street
- Salaignac Street from Manyunk Avenue to Lauriston Street
- Terrace Street from Dawson Street to Ridge Avenue
- Manayunk Avenue from Ridge Avenue to Osborn Street
- Vassar Street from Ridge Avenue to Cresson Street
- Mitchell Street from Connaroe Street to Martin Street
Philadelphia Police warn to expect delays and potential parking woes on surrounding streets.
The area around the start and finish (Levering, Lyceum, Cresson and Pechin) in Manayunk will remain closed until the clean-up tonightt, according to police.
The roads around Lemon Hill including Sedley Drive, Brewery Hill and Poplar Drive were also closed on race day. Many of the normal entry points to the park won't be open to motorists, police said.
Also, despite not being part of this year's course, police say that the inner drive of the Ben Franklin Parkway will be closed from Eakins Oval to 20th Street until tonight.