The Taiwan KOM Challenge is about to begin! It will take place on the 26th of October, though not many people will have heard about this race before. It’s gaining popularity within in the cycling world every year, as it’s a challenge accessible to everyone: the only thing you have to do to enter is meet is the minimum age limit and have a clean (no doping) past.

The challenge

As the name suggests, the event is held in Taiwan. Since 2012, this challenge has been organised on behalf of, among others, the Taiwan Ministry of Transportation and Communication and the tourist office. Since then, around 600 riders participate every year and see who will cross the finish first. Half of the riders come from abroad, and the other half are either local riders or directly invited by the organisation.

The route

The hardest part of the race is not the 105km it takes to reach the finish, it’s the number of altitude meters that you have to tackle during the journey: there are 3,275 altitude metres to climb. From 18.3km in, the official starting point on the clock, your legs won’t get any breaks until the finish line. The climb is about 85km long and starts at sea level.

The participants

As we wrote earlier, the field of participants is extremely diverse. The only restriction for entry is that you must be 16 or older—and have a clean drug history, obviously. There’s a €160 registration fee, but that’s reasonable for such an epic race.

Because there are so few requirements to enter, serious competitors will leave most participants in the dust. But a large number of the participants are true racers. For example, in the past (ex-)pros such as Cadel Evans participated, and Vincenzo Nibali won the 2017 edition. The first prize is also not just for show: Nibali put a nice bonus of €14,000 in his pocket with the win.

This year there will be some big names racing: for example, Laurens ten Dam will make his debut in the Taiwanese landscape. Curious to see what it looks like? Check the summary of the previous edition below.

Taiwan KOM Challenge x 4

Jack Cycles Far will also be participating, yet won’t be taking the final victory. In a series of challenges, Jack set himself to ride the KOM Challenge up and down four times in a row. Without a break. Without support. Check his Facebook page for the latest news about this special challenge.