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Registration has opened for one of the toughest hill climb events in the world, the Taiwan KOM Challenge. For 2015, the event will be held on October 30, and has increased the prize money on offer for both men and women. The men now have a total prize list of $80,000, while the women will split $15,000. Both categories pay six places deep.
The race begins at sea level and climbs to 3,375 meters (11,072 feet) atop Taiwan’s HeHuan Mountain. Beginning in the eastern coastal town of Hualien, the 105km route follows the sea before turning and climbing into the clouds. The climb offers a steady four-percent grade for the first 97km, before kicking up in the last 8km, with a maximum gradient of 27 percent.
Last year, Dane John Ebsen was victorious, finishing in 3:40:05. Ebsen signed with the Italian Pro Continental team Androni Giocatolli for the 2015 season. The race regularly attracts WorldTour riders, and those with proven climbing abilities, including Will Routley (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), the 2014 King of the Mountains competition winner from the Amgen Tour of California.
For the second year in a row, the Taiwan KOM Challenge will perform anti-doping tests on the top six male and female finishers. The event continues its strict anti-doping policy, forbidding anyone with a previous record of doping from competing.
The Taiwan KOM Challenge has also added a sportive event, which takes place on July 25.