Sat, Nov 10, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Cyclists gear up for Taiwan Cycling Festival

Staff writer, with CNA

Some of the world’s top cyclists said on Thursday that they are looking forward to the challenges that await them in the upcoming Taiwan Cycling Festival, which will feature a daunting climb in the Wuling (武嶺) mountain area of central Taiwan.

Riders from around the world, including Anthony Charteau and Francisco Mancebo said they have heard of the route’s reputation and are ready to test their mettle.

“I will do my best,” said 36-year-old Mancebo, 2004 the Spanish National Champion.

About 380 riders from more than 20 countries are set to line up at the start of the grueling route today to compete in one of the highlights of the festival, which runs from today to Sunday next week, and is being organized for the third year running by the Tourism Bureau to promote Taiwan’s cycling scene. Prior to this, the annual event was organized by local cycling associations.

The riders will have to climb from sea level to 3,275m above sea level over a 100km distance, an experience described by many veteran cyclists as a “pilgrimage.”

Greg Chang (張壽生), a seasoned cyclist and the editor-in-chief of the Chinese-language magazine Bicycle and Life, said he that reveres the route, which takes the riders between Cisingtan (七星潭) in Hualien County and Hehuanshan (合歡山).

“If you hit the trails without sufficient preparation, you will learn about the true meaning of the word ‘endless,’” he said.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Bureau said the challenge, along with nine other cycle courses at tourist destinations such as Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) and the Alishan Forest Railway, are expected to help integrate the sport with tourism to make the country more appealing to foreign visitors.

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