Tour de France-sanctioned race to take place in Taiwan

A one-day cycling race will be staged Sept. 17 in central Taiwan's Taichung City as part of the L'Etape by Le Tour de France, a series of public competitions designed to replicate the Tour de France experience, according to French Office in Taipei Director Benoit Guidee.

L'Etape Taiwan will comprise two categories: L'Etape Challenge for cyclists aiming to experience the rigors of the Tour de France and L'Etape Experience, a shorter version of the full-length course. The top 200 cyclists in L'Etape Challenge will be eligible to participate in L'Etape du Tour, an annual event that takes place just days ahead of the Tour de France on a portion of the same road that riders will travel during the world's most famous cycling race.

Speaking at an event celebrating Bastille Day July 14, Guidee said Taiwan is the bicycle kingdom, and that the local race is an excellent opportunity to showcase the country's outstanding athletes as well as the breathtaking scenery in central Taiwan.

According to organizers, participants in both portions of the event will start in front of Taichung City Hall and travel down Provincial Highway No. 3, with riders in L'Etape Challenge category required to surmount three mountain peaks before circling back to the finish line.

Challenge cyclists have six hours to complete the 121-kilometer course, while participants in L'Etape Experience are required to complete a 42-km course within five hours. The top five cyclists in each category will receive trophies, while three additional personal awards will be given to the best climber, sprinter and rider under 26 years old.

Established in 1993, L'Etape du Tour attracts more than 15,000 cycling enthusiasts each year. In 2015, the French event extended its reach by forming L'Etape by Le Tour de France Series, which holds races in countries and territories around the world including Australia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Wales.

Source: Taiwan Today