Mar 31, 2017CultureComments Off on Tour de Taiwan wraps up in Pingtung
The Tour de Taiwan, the nation's premier professional cycling race, wrapped up March 30 in the southern county of Pingtung, with Spain's Benjamin Prades claiming first place in the Union Cycliste Internationale Asia Tour event.
A total of 105 cyclists from 30 countries and territories representing 21 teams�including five Taiwan challengers racing for two local outfits�battled it out over the 682-kilometer competition. The five-stage race spanned urban and scenic routes in the northern cities of Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, and the central county of Nantou before concluding in Pingtung.
Racing for Team Ukyo of Japan, Prades took home the yellow jersey as winner of the General classification with an overall time of 16:05:19. He also claimed the polka dot jersey as the best rider in the Mountains classification.
Participating in the race for the second time, Colombian sprinter Edwin Avila of U.S.-based Team Illuminate topped the rankings in the Points classification to win the green jersey. In the General Team classification, Cibel-Cebon of Belgium emerged victorious with a combined time of 48:18:04.
Taiwan's Chen Chien-liang of local outfit Action Cycling Team earned the blue jersey for best Asian rider. While he tied with Tomohiro Hayakawa of the Asian Racing Team in the final classifications, Chen was awarded the crown after outperforming the Japanese competitor in the last stage.
This marks the first time Chen has won a jersey in his home event as well as the best performance by a local competitor in the Asian rider category since the Tour de Taiwan was upgraded to a UCI 2.1 race in 2012.
In professional cycling races, the yellow jersey is worn by the winner of the General classification, or the rider with the fastest overall time. The polka dot jersey is given to the best climber in the event, while the green jersey is conferred upon the leader in the Points classification, a secondary competition where marks are awarded for winning spirits and achieving high finishes in stages.
The Tour de Taiwan was established in 1978 by King Liu, founder of Taiwan-headquartered bicycle-maker Giant Manufacturing Co. Organized by the Chinese Taipei Cycling Association, it was first included in the UCI Asia Tour in 2005.
Since 2003, the annual event has climbed from the lowest 2.6 grade on the UCI scale for international cycling competitions to its current position as a 2.1 race, one level below the UCI Continental Circuits in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania and two below the UCI World Tour events, such as the prestigious Grand Tours in France, Italy and Spain. (SFC-E)