Taipei The Tour de Taiwan will be held March 1 5 as scheduled despite the novel coronavirus (COVID 19) epidemic, featuring 17 professional teams from Taiwan and around the world, the Chinese Taipei Cycling Association announced Thursday.
Lee Kai chih (???), secretary general of the association, said the competition will consist of five stages, each taking place in different cities and counties across Taiwan.
Taiwanese Feng Chun kai (???) will head a team that includes Peng Yuan tang (???), Lu Shao hsuan (???), Su Yu ming (???) and Wu Chih hao (???), Lee said.
Feng, a veteran cyclist, secured a spot in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics Cycling Road Race after finishing third in the Asian Road Cycling Championships in Uzbekistan last April, which was an authorized Olympic Qualifying Race.
The last time a Taiwanese competed in the Olympics men's Road Cycling event was in 1996, when Chen Chih hao (???) qualified.
The Taiwan team will battle it out over the 661.35 kilometer north south route against top tier cycling teams such as Burgos BH of Spain and Nippo Delko Provence from France, according to the association.
The first stage is an eight lap, 83.2 km course around Taipei City, which starts at City Hall, before moving on to challenging mountain climbs in the 118.88 km second stage through the northern city of Taoyuan.
In the third stage, named Taiwan Romantic Route 3, competitors will complete a 156.5 km course along winding mountainous roads in Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung.
The fourth stage will be held in Pingtung County before the 128.47 km final stage in Kaohsiung, according to the association.
Hsieh Shih ping (???), the team coach, said he is hopeful the team will perform well this year, adding that their team goal is to finish in the top five.
Lu, who wore the blue jersey after taking the Taipei stage in the 2019 Tour de Taiwan, said he hopes to keep the championship trophy in Taiwan this year.
The Tour de Taiwan is an annual road race that is part of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Asia Tour. It was classed as a 2.1 category race for the first time in 2012.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel