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Why “Taiwan KOM Challenge”?
 
 
 

For many years, Taiwan has been famous around the globe for the manufacturing of cycling products, a sector in which it leads the world in innovation.

However, the same cannot be said in terms of its place in worldwide cycling and racing culture – until now, that is, with the introduction of a government-supported ‘Taiwan Cycling Festival’, of which the Taiwan KOM Challenge is the main centerpiece.

Taiwan, with its high mountains that are rideable year round, it’s beautiful scenery, well-paved roads, incredible cuisine and vibrant and welcoming culture, is the ideal venue for such a nation-wide festival.

 
 

Through the Taiwan Cycling Festival, the government and the other organizations involved, such as the Taiwan Cyclist Federation, aim to promote environmental consciousness, improve the health of Taiwanese people by encouraging people to take up cycling, and to introduce the beauty and wonders of Taiwan to foreign guests.

 
 

The Taiwan Cycling Festival is an integral part of a wider programme of increasing the number of bike lanes, introducing a public bicycle rental system in towns and cities, and organizing a wide range of cycling activities for all ages and abilities.

This year sees the 5th edition of the Taiwan Cycling Festival held under the organization of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, having been first held in 2010. In that time and thanks to the sincere efforts of all involved, the number of people cycling in Taiwan has rocketed, environmental consciousness has improved tremendously, and there has been a marked increase in foreign travelers to the island, keen to seek out the many delights that Taiwan has to offer.

 

The 2015 Taiwan KOM Challenge

For cyclists around the world the greatest challenge of all is the mountain. The great mythical mountain climbs of the world test a rider’s sprit and represent, both literally and metaphorically, the summit of one’s achievement.

It’s no coincidence that the great mountains of races such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia are the most beloved of the cycling fan and the most iconic venues in this great sport.

 
 

For this reason, riders aspire to become ‘The King of the Mountain’ (KOM) in these great races, the organizers having devised long ago a special and unique award to praise the courage of the riders who dare to challenge these huge rocks, thrust skyward by Nature.

An incredible 70% of Taiwan is mountainous, and if you look at a satellite image of the island you will see that it is essentially one massive mountain ridge that descends gracefully down to the inhabited plains and into the ocean.

Making up this ridge are over 200 individual peaks that reach up to more than 3000 meters in height, all incredibly steep at their toughest and each with its own unique character and challenges for those who dare to climb them.

These peaks can be scaled by mountain climbing or hiking, but also, incredibly, by bicycle. One in particular is the venue for the Taiwan KOM Challenge event.


HeHuan Mountain, also known as the Wuling climb.

 
 

This epic climb is reached by heading down the No# 8 Highway, linking to the 14A highway through to the peaceful coastal city of Hualien.

From there the road snakes up through the beautiful Taroko Gorge to the peak of HeHuan, taking the cyclist from 0 meters, right by the Pacific Ocean, up to 3,275 meters.

And so we, the Taiwan Cyclist Federation, are proud to present the third annual edition of the ‘Taiwan Cycling Festival – Taiwan KOM Challenge’, a unique project and rare challenge course along a world class route that travels through breathtaking scenery.

We invite hill climb enthusiasts and climbing specialists from around the world to accept out invitation and to become the 2014 Taiwan KOM Challenge King of the Mountain.

This is a unique title that bestows upon the holder world-wide recognition.

The Taiwan KOM Challenge is the highlight of the Taiwan Cycling Festival held by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, and our goal is for the event to become an international ‘classic’, something it is well on its way to becoming.

Each year attendance of the event increases, and each year more and more riders from around the world travel to Taiwan to take on the challenge, including some very high-profile World Tour and Pro Continental professional cyclists, some of whom have won the KOM classification in the major Grand Tours, such as the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

 
 

Event Feature

1.

The route passes through the popular scenic area known as Taroko Gorge, an immense rocky chasm with vertical cliffs, innumerable tunnels, raging torrents below and dramatic temples and shrines above.
The climb culminates up at 3,275m, in rarefied air and with a gradient of an average 17% over the final, lung-busting 8 kilometers.

2.

The route is famous for being so long, a continual ascent that lasts for 87 kilometers, one of the very longest in the world. Combined with the 18.1 kilometers of neutral riding, which is also uphill, in total the participants ride 105km.

3.

As in the 2014 edition, we intend to invite up to KOM Jersey winners from the Grand Tours, attracting wide international media coverage from all over the world.

4.

As well as ProTour riders, we will invite several very accomplished UCI Pro Continental and Continental riders to the KOM Challenge, improving awareness and interest in this event in Asia, Afica, Australasia, Europe and the Americas.

 
 
 

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