Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Tour de Taiwan cyclists sent in wrong direction

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Cyclists set off from the starting point of Stage 2 of Tour de Taiwan in front of Taoyuan City Hall on Monday.

Photo courtesy of the Chinese Taipei Cycling Association

The second stage of the Tour de Taiwan on Monday saw more than 100 cyclists sent in the wrong direction due to a human error, causing the race to be temporarily halted.

After the opening day’s start in Taipei on Sunday, the second stage ran through a 120km course from Taoyuan City Hall to Jiaobanshan Park in Taoyuan’s Fusing District (復興).

The race is a class 2.1 event on the Union Cycliste Internationale Asian Tour calendar this year, attracting nearly 200 professional cyclists from 30 nations, organizers said.

The mishap took place in the afternoon, 25km before the end of the stage, where a leading breakaway group of 18 cyclists headed straight through an intersection in Longtan Township (龍潭), but more than 100 cyclists in the main group were misguided by several local organizers acting as marshals, who rode on motorcycles to guide the racers, as they turned to the right.

The group rode on for about 1.5km before the race was halted and the group was redirected back to the correct course, but many competitors complained of the shoddy work and ludicrous lapse of attention by event organizers.

“The leading group was ahead by one minute and 10 seconds, but the lead over the main group was extended to about five minutes after the wrong turn. To ensure fairness in the race, we decided to stop the leading group, [waited] for the main group to return to the correct route, then we restarted the race,” said the event’s Iranian head judge, surnamed Majid.

“I have never seen such a mistake, with more than 100 competitors being misled along the wrong turn. I am afraid this will damage the reputation of the Tour de Taiwan ... it has affected the race and disrupted the rhythm of the competitors,” Taiwanese cyclist Feng Chun-kai (馮俊凱) said.

“I think it was a huge mistake by the organizers. Obviously it affected my race, because they stopped the breakaway group with 20km to go,” a competitor said.

“It was unfair for the peloton, because they lost so many minutes ... but in the end, I think the organizers made the right decision” by halting the race, another foreign cyclist said.

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