The Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling is set to begin today with its first race, the Lehigh Valley Classic.
That race is an 85-mile, 12-lap circuit race that runs through Allentown and Salisbury Township.
Then, on Thursday, the Triple Crown caravan will move to Reading for a 75-mile, 10-lap ride through the city's downtown and nearby Mount Penn.
Finally, on Sunday will be the Philadelphia International Championship. Celebrating its 24th running, this 156-mile race begins and ends on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The women's three-race series begins with criteriums in the Lehigh Valley and Reading before concluding with the 56.7-mile Liberty Classic, held on Sunday and on the same course as the men's finale.
During the men's race on Sunday, a field of the world's 200 best cyclists will ride 10 laps of the 14.4-mile primary circuit that includes the infamous Manayunk Wall, with its always-raucous fans and precipitous grades that exceed 17 percent. Those 10 laps are followed by three finishing laps up and over Lemon Hill before the 2008 champion is crowned.
Racing this week will be four teams slated to start in July's Tour de France, the Danish-based Team CSC, Italian stalwart Liquigas, and American powerhouses Team High Road and Slipstream-Chipotle.