The Taiwan KOM Challenge climbs 11,000 feet over...

Taiwan KOM Challenge offers 11,000 feet of climbing, bigger purse

One of the world's hardest hill climb races is set to offer an $80,000 prize purse in November

The Taiwan Travel Bureau in association with the Taiwan Cyclist Federation announced the details of the 2014 Taiwan KOM Challenge, which will take place November 15.

Now in its third year, the Taiwan KOM Challenge’s 105km route travels from the eastern coastal town of Hualien, starting at sea level, and rises along its route to the roof of Taiwan, up on HeHuan Mountain at 3,375 meters [11,073 feet].

The course takes the participants up at an average 7 percent through the Taroko Gorge to the 97km point at Dayuling, and then rises up its remaining kilometers to a maximum incline of 27 percent, averaging 17 percent for the final eight kilometers.

The 2013 men’s winner, Rhaim Emami of Iran, completed the race in three hours and 26 seconds from the official timed start, which began after the 18km of neutralized riding.

This year’s race sees a massive increase in the prize money, one million Taiwan dollars [33,145.60 USD] for overall men’s winner, and $200,000 ($6,675 USD) to the women’s winner.

In the past, professional riders like Jeremy Roy of Francaise des Jeux, Anthony Charteau of Europcar, and Tiffany Cromwell of Specialized-lululemon have taken part in the event, a tradition which continues this year with the participation of Giro Rosa KOM winner Emma Pooley.

After much discussion, the organizers of the Taiwan KOM Challenge have decided to implement drug testing for the top six riders and reserve the right to randomly test any other participant in the 2014 event.

Furthermore, any rider with a previous record of doping will not be allowed to compete in the race. The testing will be carried out by the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and the tests will be analyzed at a laboratory in Japan.