TAIPEI (CNA) — A total of 730 cyclists from 42 countries are expected to compete in the 2019 Taiwan KOM Challenge (King of the Mountains, 2019 臺灣自行車登山王挑戰) set for Oct. 25, organizers said Tuesday.
The Taiwan KOM Challenge, currently in its 8th year, is part of the Taiwan Cycling Festival. It is also considered one of the world’s toughest uphill bike races, according to the Tourism Bureau, one of the event organizers.
The 105-kilometer race begins in Qixingtan scenic area on the Pacific coast at sea level, before climbing 87 kilometers through the majestic Taroko Gorge to Wuling at 3,275-meters, near Hehuanshan, the highest point accessible by public road in Taiwan.
This year, 488 of the 730 cyclists set to participate are foreign, said Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰), deputy director-general of the Tourism Bureau, marking the third consecutive year more than half the participants have been from overseas.
The race will feature cyclists from top UCI WorldTeams, such as Nathan Haas and Steff Cras, two-time Olympic Champion Marianne Vos, and defending champion John Ebsen, who also won the event in 2012 and 2014.
Top Taiwan cyclists Feng Chun-kai (馮俊凱) and Peng Yuan-tang (彭源堂) are also slated to compete.
By Yu Hsiao-han and Chiang Yi-ching