The Tourism Bureau is to host the Taiwan Cycling Festival next month on the east coast as part of its plans to promote the nation’s as a bicycle kingdom.
Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said the idea of having a cycling festival in Hualien and Taitung was proposed by Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國), who said last year that travel on the east coast should utilize both the railway system and bicycles.
“The goal is for Taiwan to be the first place that comes to mind when people think about cycling,” Lai said, adding that the bureau hopes the experience will help it host a larger festival next year to celebrate the centennial of the Republic of China.
Vicky Liu (劉麗珠), president of the Cycling Lifestyle Foundation, said the one-week festival would involve four major events, including the Taiwan Cup, the Elite Road Race, the Self-Challenging Race and Triathlon Race.
The Taiwan Cup is designed as an international cycling race that is only open to professional cyclists, who will be competing in 6km and 210km road races on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24. The total prizes in these categories will top NT$390,000.
“Among those professional cyclists, we have invited the Rabobank Pro Team from the Netherlands, which came third in this year’s Tour de France,” Liu said.
Liu said it was not easy to invite professional cyclists since they are scheduled to compete in other races, and competing in the Taiwan Cup does not accumulate points for them.
The bureau has arranged for the Elite Road Race and the Self-Challenging Race to be held the same weekend as the Taiwan Cup, but on different routes. The Triathlon Race, on the other hand, will be held on Oct. 16 and Oct.17.
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