Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic brings pedal-parity to professional cycling
West Chester, PA – June 23, 2017 – The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic, has announced that equal prize-money will be awarded for this year’s Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium and the Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium. $7500 will be up for grabs in each race. Now in its 13th year, the iconic West Chester event will take place on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
Kimberly Brumbaugh, CEO of Brumbaugh Wealth Management, sees it as a natural fit for their sponsorship of the pro women’s race: “We are pleased to support this inspiring women’s sports event, especially since it will bring long-overdue parity between the pro men’s and pro women’s races. The women involved in the race are committed. They are leaders. They are racing with their peers and developing relationships. And that is really in alignment with our firm.”
“It’s just right for so many reasons,” said Mark Yoder, President of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, “And we are proud of our decision to offer equal prize purses in both pro events.”
Rebecca Worthington, Vice President of Marketing for Benchmark Federal Credit Union, the title sponsor of the event, commented “We are delighted with the commitment shown to both the growth of the women’s professional cycling and to gender equality. To recognize the cyclists in this way demonstrates the value that women’s professional cycling adds to the sport and I know we’ll see some exceptional racing this year.”
Of course, gender equality is not new to cycling. As the 19th century approached its final years, change was happening everywhere, most notably when it came to the role of women in society. Fueled by the popularity of cycling, a new woman emerged in the 1890s. The term “New Woman” was used to describe the modern woman who broke convention by working outside the home and becoming more politically active in the woman’s suffrage movement as well as other social issues. The new woman saw herself equal to men and the bicycle was her vehicle to drive the point home. Susan B. Anthony credited the bicycle for having “done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”
Once treated as competitive cycling’s poor stepchild, pro women’s racing has finally begun to take on the greater importance it deserves. “We are proud to be part of helping women athletes find greater opportunities and economic incentives, allowing them to commit to developing full-time professional sports careers,” said Yoder.
This year’s Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic starts at 3:30 p.m. with the West Chester Dental Arts Kids’ Race, a series of age-determined races for children between the ages of 3 and 10. Immediately following at 4:30 p.m. is the Tolsdorf Trike Challenge, the popular tag-team race where adults compete on oversized tricycles. This series of hot-handed, cold-blooded heats pits businesses, organizations and any group of five against each other for bragging rights and valuable prizes.
The Rothman Institute Amateur Criterium takes place at 5:45 p.m., followed by the Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium at 6:45 p.m. This 40K race will once again attract top pro female riders from around the country and beyond. At 8 p.m. one of the most important professional cycling races on the East Coast, the 75K Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium, hits the streets of historic West Chester.
In addition to bike racing, the Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic will feature many family-friendly activities, including the Kids’ Zone and a Community Festival where visitors will find a wide assortment of shopping booths with all the latest “must-haves,” face painting and a non-stop, party-like ambiance. The talents of the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will also be on display at their popular Beer Garden.
For more information on the day’s events, go to www.GreaterWestChester.com.
Benchmark Twilight Cycling Classic is a day of fun and excitement for the entire family beginning at 3:30pm with the West Chester Dental Arts Kids’ Race. Sign up your children to participate in a series of age-determined sprints for children between 3 to 10. At 4:00pm the Kids’ Zone and Community Festival open with a great choice of family-friendly activities. Next up, 4:30pm finds adult-sized tricycles taking over Gay Street for the Tolsdorf Trike Challenge, a double-elimination adult tag-team tricycle relay race. The excitement continues to build, first with the Rothman Institute Amateur Criterium at 5:45pm (Trials at 8:00am at Bayard Rustin High School), followed by the Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium at 6:45pm, culminating at 8pm with the Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium. #WCBikeRace