2019 Taiwan KOM Challenge Racing Thru the Clouds to the Heavens
The 8th Annual “Taiwan KOM Challenge” elite cycling race will be held on Oct 25, 2019. This year’s race will be welcoming a total of 730 professional and amateur cyclists from 42 countries, including world-class riders from teams such as Katusha-Alpecin, EF-Drapac, and Astana. The CCC-Liv female team will also be participating, led by the legendary Marianne Vos.
The Taiwan KOM Challenge is in its 8th year and has become a “once in a lifetime” bucket list race for cyclists from all over the world. Riders will have a chance to experience the “Race Thru the Clouds to the Heavens,” which has been rated by the French cycling magazine “Le Cycle” as one of the world’s top-10 most challenging hill climb races.
Since the very first Taiwan KOM Challenge in 2012, the notoriety of this race has spread to all corners of the world. It has attracted not only professional riders from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Tour de Spain and many other top world class tours, but also 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 488 international entries, up from just 79 in 2012. More strikingly, over the past few years this race has welcomed many of the world’s top female riders and teams. This has inspired even more international and local female riders to participate in this epic challenge, resulting in a record number of 74 female riders this year.
At 6:00 am on the morning of Oct 25th, all riders will begin this “once in a lifetime” historic and epic challenge. The event begins at sea level (0m AGL) at the Qixingtan beachside starting line. Riders will go through the amazing Taroko Gorge, pass the Bilu Sacred Tree. They will eventually encounter the final grueling 10 kms of the race after they pass the final checkpoint at Dayuling. The riders will be challenged by several incline pitches of 20-27% over this last stretch. With total determination, they will cross the finish line at the Wuling Pass at an altitude of 3,275 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. As the riders cross over and turn left off the Taroko Gorge Bridge, the neutral-controlled start continues for approximately 1 more kilometer up to the Sha-Ka-Dang Tunnel. The official time starts approximately 100 meters before the Sha-Ka-Dang Tunnel. After passing through the tunnel, the route has an average hill climb of 8% for the remaining 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. This race’s mountain slopes, views of the Taroko Gorge, 16 tunnels, and breathtaking scenery along the entire route will become every rider’s unique experience. These all combine to make this race one of the world’s great sporting events.
World-class professional and amateur cyclists are invited to participate in this race. This year’s riders will include Steff Cras and Nathan Haas from Team Katusha-Alpecin, as well as top-level talent from the world tour teams of EF-Drapac, 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 cycling events in competitions such as the Olympics and the world championships. She is also the only female cyclist introduced by Wikipedia on its “Great Cyclists” page, listed together with 6 other legendary riders: Merckx, Cancellara, Cavendish, Greipel, Sagan and Valverde.
The 2018 champion, John Ebsen from Denmark, and runner-up Benjamin Dyball from Australia, will be competing again this year. Also in attendance will be the talented young rider Kenny Nijssen of the Netherlands, who finished 2018 ranked at #4 and is among the world’s top cyclists this year. In addition, KOM veteran Morimoto Makoto from Japan will return again this year.
Local heroes will also be joining the competition, including Bahrain Merida’s Feng Chun-Kai and Taichung school teacher Fan Yung-Yi. These two Taiwan legends are a big inspiration for all Taiwan local riders. In addition, other local male cyclists will include Peng Yuan-Tang, Huang Wen-Chung, Liu Shu-Ming, Wu Chih-Hao, and Huang Guan-Lin. On the women’s side the list includes Tseng Ko-Xin, Hsu Wan-Ting and Chen Tze-Yin.
One more item of note, famous local TV hosts Windy Duan and Eunice Lin, as well as FOX TV anchor Hou Yi-Li, have all registered to ride in this year’s KOM challenge. They have reportedly been seriously preparing and training for this race. Their presentation of “healthy female power” in the race will definitely be worth watching!
To help ensure race safety, traffic control measures and road closures will be implemented on race day. The Hualien and Nantou county governments apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The schedule for these traffic control measures is as follows:
- 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 Mt. Hehuan Visitor Center)
- 09:00-10:30 Highway No. 14A (Tsuifeng to Mt. Hehuan Visitor Center)