The Taiwan KOM Challenge

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From humble beginnings in 2010 the Taiwan KOM Challenge has established itself as one of the world's most iconic one day cycling events in the world. On the last Friday of every October, both amateurs and professionals alike line up to start side by side to take on one of the toughest mountains on the planet, with former participants including Tour de France winners Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali, former World Time Trial and Olympic silver medalist Emma Pooley and former World Tour rider and media star Phil Gaimon.


Voted by French cycling magazine as one of the world's top ten hardest road races, the Taiwan KOM Challenge starts a zero meters by the Pacific Ocean on Taiwan's east coast, then winds it's way up through the majestic Taroko Gorge, with it's towering marble cliffs above and roaring rapids below, on up the the alpine summit of Mt. Wuling up at 3,275 meters, taking the rides to the peak of Taiwan's highest passable mountain road.

We believe the Taiwan KOM Challenge to be one of the toughest yes most stunning climbs in the world, but don't just take our word from it!

Here are some excerpts from previous participants, including Cadel Evans and Global Cycling Network:

Cadel Evans, BMC Ambassador

'A magic climb up. For me, the fatigue and the altitude I found to be the biggest challenges. You're really riding up on the side of these precipices which is quite incredible. When I looked around and looked at the mountains, it's just like a scene out of a movie or something. It's so spectacular. Some of the scenery, the old temples, the waterfalls, the section with all the trees going over the road, like a natural awning covering the road, the vegetation itself is something I've only ever seen in Asian movies.'

Andy Van Bergen, CyclingTips

'With 1km to go and almost within sight of the finish line the road throws down one last challenge, pitching up again to over 16%. Finally the last 500m sign signals the end of the torment. That old friend pain is left at the gate for one last push, the hardest of the entire ride. Accompanied by a guttural sound and a final sprint the job is done.

Crossing the finish line riders are grabbed while still on the bike and steadied, many doubled over with their heads bowed deeply, unable to move, and gasping for oxygen in the thin air. Warm drinks are pressed into our hands and a cold medal slung over our head. As it turns out it had been raining constantly for the last ten minutes of the ride.

The Taiwan KOM Challenge is one of the most unforgiving and brutal hill climb events in the world, situated in the most impossibly beautiful and stunning picture-postcard location imaginable. Sharpen up those hill climbing legs — this needs to be on your bucket list.'

Read the full article here.

Gokhan Kutluer, Stelbel

'The cyclists must complete the course in less than 6.5 hours(counted from the flying start). After turning left off of Taroko Gorge Bridge and as riders enter into the Taroko Gorge, 90km of the course has an average climb of 7%. After completing 95kms, riders will be greeted with the most grueling part of the course, the last 8kms with climbs ranging from 17% to 27%.

Out of all the cycling races in the world, it is very unique to find this type of ascent at such a high altitude. The Taiwan KOM Challenge will bring riders into the most beautiful wonders of Mother Nature as they ride higher and higher into the mountains. The Taiwan KOM Challenge has entered into its sixth year and is included, along with the Haute Route Alps Mountain Challenge, amongst the world’s top 10 most difficult cycling races by French magazine “Le Cycle”.'

Read the full article here.

Caley Fretz, VeloNews

'Taroko Gorge isn’t something you want to miss. The geological relief is massive. To the left the mountain drops anywhere from a few hundred to nearly a thousand feet down to the river; to the right, steep, forested slopes rise straight into the clouds. The road cuts straight through rock that curves overhead like a great stone wave. As we head out of the gorge itself the pavement begins switchbacking, back and forth and back and forth, across the mountain’s face. Over and over again you spot a section far ahead and above and wonder how you’ll ever get up there, then you do, and there’s another just as high again.

I’m not sure how to best describe the last 10km, about 45 minutes, of this climb. Like doing Alpe d’Huez at the end of a long ride? No, that’s nowhere near steep enough. It’s not akin to doing a hard climb after a series of hard climbs because of the consistency of the effort. For hours you sit right on the edge, with legs ticking like time bombs. But the timer is broken. When will they go? Little electrical twinges course through muscles, the early threats of cramps. What will they do?

The Taiwan KOM is a bucket-list item. It was for me, now checked off, and it should be for you. A riding trip here is more rewarding than an outing to Alpe d’Huez, and certainly more difficult. It’s more adventurous than anything in the Dolomites, more rugged than the Pyrenees. I implore you: Make a week of it.'

Read the full article here.

Global Cycling Network

GCN came out in 2017 and posited the question, 'The Taiwan KOM Challenge: the hardest climb in the world?'

Here's what they discovered.