Taiwan KOM Challenge 2017

Cycling Experts are gathering for this week’s debut of the 2017 Taiwan King of the Mountain (KOM) Challenge.

This week we have the Former Tour de France and world championship winner, Cadel Evans; Bahrain-Merida Grand Tour GC rider, “The Shark” Vincenzo Nibali; World champion winner and Olympic Medalist, Emma Pooley; as well, many other world renowned professional riders all gearing up for this week’s 2017 Taiwan KOM Challenge. From the local scene we have elite riders from Taiwan, Feng Chun-kai, Taiwan’s first world class professional team rider; Fan Yung-yi, Taiwan’s famous “Elementary School Teacher” representing DURO team, all getting ready to make their presence known at the Taiwan KOM.

Confirmed by the M.O.T.C. Tourism Bureau, Hualien and Nantou Counties, Taiwan Cyclist Federation, the M.O.T.C. Highway Administration and other governmental agencies, this year’s Taiwan KOM will start at 6:00 am on October 20th in Hualien. There are a total of 592 riders (318 among them are from overseas) from 32 countries and areas. This event will be live-broadcasted started from local time 08:00 on the event day by Formosa TV station.

This year it is great honor to host the 6th Taiwan KOM Challenge and again to have so many world class cyclists who have competed in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de Spain, Tour de France , or Olympic. Winners of this event, John Ebsen(2014), Damien Monier(2015) and Oscar Pujol Munoz(2016) all come again.

Notable returnees also include British National champion and Powerman Duathlon champion, Emma Pooley from England, and former event female winners Eri Yonamine and Marg Fedyna. We are definitely going to have another exciting Taiwan KOM race this year.

Born on February 14th, 1977, Cadel Evans is an Australian former professional racing cyclist and winner of the 2011 Tour de France. Early in his career, Evans was a champion mountain biker, winning the World Cup in 1998 and 1999 and placing seventh in the men’s cross-country mountain bike race at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Cadel Evans is a four-time Olympian.

Evans turned to full-time road cycling in 2001, and gradually progressed through the ranks. He finished second in the 2007 and 2008 Tours de France. He became the first Australian to win the UCI ProTour (2007) and the UCI Road World Championships in 2009. Finally, he won the Tour de France in 2011, riding for BMC Racing Team. At age 34, he was among the five oldest winners in the race’s history. He is also one of only two non-Europeans to have officially won the Tour, the other being Greg LeMond.

Vincenzo Nibali is an Italian professional road bicycle racer, considered one of the strongest stage race riders of his era. He rides for UCI World Team Bahrain–Merida.

Born near the Strait of Messina, his nickname is the “Shark of the Strait”, “the Shark of Messina” or simply “The Shark”. His biggest wins are the 2010 Vuelta a España, the 2014 Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia twice (2013 and 2016), making him one of six cyclists who have won the three Grand Tours in their career.

Nibali is most well known for his Grand Tours performances, but he has proven to be a strong contender in classic cycle races as well, having won the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Italian National Road Race Championships, the GP Ouest-France in 2006 and above all a “Monument” of road bicycle racing: the Giro di Lombardia in 2015 and 2017.

Former ITT World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Emma Pooley, who is sponsored by Bond.Bike and Sense Composites wheels, has been in fine form this season. Amongst her wins was the top spot at the Haute Route Rockies, where she became the first woman in Haute Route history to beat the men’s field, on the Queen stage. She’ll be looking to bring that form to Taiwan in this event.

Phillip “Phil” Gaimon (born January 28, 1986) is an author, host of the Cookie-themed “Phil’s Fondo” Oct 14-15, 2017, and former American professional road racing cyclist who last rode for UCI World Tour team Cannondale–Drapac. He formerly rode for Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies and Garmin-Sharp. A noted blogger, Gaimon has written for VeloNews; he formerly posted at Bicycling, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated. Gaimon was also 2nd overall in 2010 Tour of Taiwan. A recent win is 2015 1st Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Claudia Lichtenberg is a true GC rider, having won both the Giro d’Italia Femminile and the Tour de l’Aude,. Claudia is riding this year for Wiggle High5 and plans to retire at the end of this season, and we are sure she will be extra motivated to go out on a high by claiming a podium spot at the KOM.

Canyon/SRAM rider Leah Thorvilson was the inaugural winner of the Zwift Academy competition: an online elimination race hosted by Zwift. The winner was awarded a pro contract by Canyon/SRAM, which led to Leah turning pro at 38 years of age. Leah’s background as a successful marathon runner (she won 14 marathons) and new-found cycling ability should stand her in good stead at the 2017 Taiwan KOM Challenge!

Camille Deligny is a professional triathlete and the French national record holder for Ironman, with a time of 9hrs 18mins and 15secs. She grew up in a family with a lot of cycling culture, practiced road racing for 2 years when she was a teenager. She studied fashion and worked as a stylist, and then went into triathlon world. After that, Camille decided to become a professional triathlete. Australian professional cyclist, Carlee Taylor, took up cycling in 2007 after competing in triathlon, and is known as a climbing specialist. She currently rides for the Alé – Cipollini – Galassia pro team.

We will also see spotlight riders like Emily Collinge from England, Marella Salamat from Philippines, and Yuuka Yonemura competing in the female category. This category is supposed to be highly eye- catching in the 2017 event. Born on November 2nd, 1988, we have Taiwan’s best rider, Feng Chun-kai, leading the charge for Taiwan’s hope of winning the Taiwan KOM. He notably represented Taiwan during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, USA Tour Week Champion in 2011, Philippines KOM Champion in 2012, French Tour “Most Combative Rider” winner in 2013, and East Asia Games gold medalist. In 2014 during the Tour de Taiwan, Feng Chun-kai, was a three-time consecutive winner of the KOM stages. Feng joined the Bahrain Merida ProCycling Team in 2017, and come together with Nibali.

Fan Yung-yi, born on May 22nd, 1978, was overall 7th place and the Combative Award winner in 2016. Mr. Fan is an elementary school teacher in Taichung and gained the name “The Taiwan Solo-Rider” as well, “Teacher Fan”. He never gives up and continues to race on, representing DURO team this year.

Global Cycling Network (GCN) is coming to the Taiwan KOM Challenge in 2017, with Matt Stephens and Simon Richardson taking part by riding, also with two cameramen filming. GCN began in 2013 and has become the world’s leading YouTube cycling channel, with over 1 million subscribers.

In order to provide a safe environment for the race, there will be traffic control on October 20th for the following areas from Hualien County into the Taroko Gorge: County Route 193 is closed to public traffic from 05:30 – 07:00, Route 9 (Taroko Gorge Bridge): 06:00 – 07:30 am, Route 8 Taroko to Tianxiang: 06:30 – 08:00, Tianxiang to Dayuling: 07:00 – 12:00, Route 14A to Wuling (Hehuan Mountain Visitor Center): 08:30 – 12:00. From Nantou County, traffic control situation as follows: Route 14A from Cuifeng to Wuling: 09:00 – 11:00. On behalf of the organizers, we are sorry for the inconvenience. However, safety is our priority for all riders and attendees. This year’s champion prize money is NT$500,000 for male and female categories, respectively, with a total prize package of NT$2.14 million. As part of world UCI regulations, doping control is strictly enforced. Any previous rider with a doping violation will not be allowed registration.

The Taiwan KOM route as follows: Hualien Qixingtan → Taroko Bridge → Route 8 → Tianxiang → Xinbaiyang → Bilu Sacred Tree → Guanyuan Gas Station → Dayuling → Route 14A → Hehuan Mountain/Wuling with a total distance of 105km and elevation to 3275 meters. The rider must complete the course in less than 6.5 hours(counted from the flying start). After turning left off of Taroko Gorge Bridge and as riders enter into the Taroko Gorge, 90km of the course has an average climb of 7%. After completing 95kms, riders will be greeted with the most grueling part of the course, the last 10kms with climbs ranging from 17% to 27%. Out of all the cycling races in the world, it is very unique to find this type of ascent at such a high altitude. Riders please enjoy this wonderful challenge that awaits you. The Taiwan KOM Challenge will bring riders into the most beautiful wonders of Mother Nature as they ride higher and higher into the mountains. The Taiwan KOM Challenge has entered into its sixth year and is included, along with the Haute Route Alps Mountain Challenge, amongst the world’s top 10 most difficult cycling races by French magazine “Le Cycle”. Official Sponsors of the Taiwan KOM: DURO HwaFeng Rubber Industrial, MERIDA Bikes, DT Swiss, SHIMANO, 720 Armour, LUXGEN, YAMAHA, Champion System.