The 2017 Taiwan KOM Challenge kicked off at 6am on the 20th. The participants departed from Hualien’s Qixing Lake which is near the sea level, and went all the way up to Wuling of Hehuan Mountain at 3,275m above the sea level. The route is 105km long and 592 cyclists from 32 countries took part.
The journey was smooth and sunny. Finally Antonio Nibali of Team Bahrain Merida won the competition with a record of 3 hours 19 minutes 54’04 seconds.
Nibali noted that the challenge in Taiwan was a tough one, “especially the last 10km uphill climb - it was amazing. After reading the contour line chart, I decided to dash in the last 3km because by that time my competitors would be exhausted. I won, but it was a tough battle.”
The champion said he felt Taiwan people’s hospitality deeply. “In the last 2km, people cheered for me, calling me by my name. I was really touched!”