Racing thru the Clouds to the Heavens

Racing thru the Clouds to the Heavens

The 8th Annual “Taiwan KOM Challenge” will be held on Oct 25th, 2019 with a total of 730 professional and amateur cyclists from 42 countries participating in this year’s elite cycling race. This year we will see many new world-class riders competing in this event from the world tour teams of Katusha-Alpecin, Astana teams, and the CCC-Liv female team lead by the legendary Marianne Vos.

The 2019 Taiwan KOM Challenge is hosted by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau MOTC, Hualien and Nantou County Governments and organized by the Taiwan Cyclist Federation. The Taiwan KOM Challenge in its 8th year and has become the “once in a lifetime” pocket list race for cyclists from all over the world. By riding in this event, all riders will experience the “Race thru the Clouds to the Heavens” which has been classified as one of the top 10 most challenging hill climb races in the world, as stated by the French Cycling Magazine “Le Cycle.”

Since the inception of the very first Taiwan KOM Challenge in 2012, the notoriety of race has spread to all corners of the world attracting not only professional riders from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Tour de Spain and many other top world-class tours, but also has attracted serious amateur riders who want to take part in one of the world’s most challenging cycling races. This year’s Taiwan KOM Challenge has a total of 488 international entries as compared to 79 in 2012. Most strikingly, over the past few years, this race has garnered the world’s top female riders and teams inspiring both international and local female riders to participate in this epic challenge with a record number of 74 female riders.

On the morning of Oct 25th at 06:00 all riders will begin this “once in a lifetime” historical epic challenge starting at sea-level (0m AGL) from the Qixingtan beachside start line. The riders will go through the amazing Taroko Gorge, pass the Bilu Sacred Tree, and will encounter the final grueling 10 kms after passing the Dayuling final checkpoint. The riders will be challenged with several incline pitches from 20% to 27% in these last 10 kms and with total determination will cross the finish line at the Wuling Pass at an altitude of 3275 meters. The official total distance is 105 kilometers.

The first 18 kilometers of this race along Route 9 is a straight-road neutral-controlled start and as the riders cross over and turn left off the Taroko Gorge Bridge the neutral-controlled start continues for approximately 1 more kilometer right before the“Sha-ka-Dang Tunnel.” The official time starts approximately 100 meters before the Sha-Ka-Dang Tunnel. After passing thru the tunnel, the route has an average hill climb of 8% for the next 76 kilometers, with the most difficult part of the race being the last 10 kilometers from Dayuling to the finish line. Only those riders who finish the race can tell the stories of this torturous last 10 kilometers. The mountain slopes, the Taroko Gorge cascade and the 16 tunnels, together with the breathtaking scenery along the entire route, will become every rider’s unique experience and makes this race one of the world’s greatest sporting events.

World-class professional and amateur cyclists are invited to participate in this race. This year in 2019 we will see Steff Cras and Nathan Haas from the Katusha-Alpecin, as well as top-level talent from world tour teams of Astana and CCC-Liv.

Marianne Vos, probably the greatest female cyclist ever, will come with her CCC-Liv teammates. Marianne has already achieved more than 350 wins in several different cycling events in the Olympics as well as the world championship victories. She is also the only female cyclist introduced by Wikipedia on the “Great Cyclists” page, listed together with 6 other legendary riders: Merckx, Cancellara, Cavendish, Greipel, Sagan, and Valverde!

The 2018 winner, John Ebsen from Denmark, and the runner-up, Benjamin Dyball from Australia, will race this year to fight again for the title, while the talented young rider Kenny Nijssen(NED) with overall ranking 4th in 2018 is also on the list in 2019. KOM veteran Morimoto Makoto from Japan will again compete this year.

The local heroes, “Feng Chun-Kai” of Bahrain Merida and “Fan Yung-Yi” a school teacher from Taichung, are on this year’s list of riders. These two Taiwan legends are a big inspiration for all Taiwan local riders. As well we have many other local talented cyclists participating in this year’s race: Peng Yuan-Tang, Huang Wen-Chung, Liu Shu-Ming, Wu Chih-Hao, Huang Guan-Lin, as well as female riders like Tseng Ko-Xin, Hsu Wan-Ting and Chen Tze-Yin.

One more thing: local famous TV hosts Windy Duan and Eunice Lin, as well as the FOX TV anchor Hou Yi-Li, have registered to ride in this year’s KOM challenge. It has been noted they have been seriously preparing and training for this race. Their presentation of “healthy female power” in the race will be definitely worth watching!

Due to race safety, traffic control and road closure will be enforced on race day. The Hualien and Nantou Governments apologize for the inconvenience it may cause. The controlled time periods are:

05:30-07:00 Highway No.193
06:00-07:30 Highway No.9
06:30-08:00 Highway No.8 (Taroko to Tianxiang)
07:00-12:00 Highway No.8 (Tianxiang to Dayuling)
08:30-12:00 Highway No.14A (Dayuling to Hehuan Mt. Visitor Center)

09:00-11:00 Highway No.14A (Tsuifeng to Hehuan Mt. Visitor Center)

We also appreciate all sponsorships from the following companies: Merida, DT Swiss, Shimano Sunstar, SKY Eyewear, JAW Sportswear, as well as the support from all government departments and local organizations.