Tour de Taiwan Promotes Romantic Route 3 to the World: Only Stage Spanning 3 Counties/Cities Sets Off from Yimin Temple

Chou Chiang-chieh, Deputy Minister of the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC), visited the Baozhong Yimin Temple in Fangliao, Hsinchu today (March 12) to attend the opening ceremony for the 2024 Tour de Taiwan—Stage 3 Taiwan Romantic Route 3. Everyone is also invited to cheer on the cyclists from home and abroad, so they can break their personal records and win some glory!

Deputy Minister Chou expressed gratitude to Hsinchu County Government, Miaoli County Government and Taichung City Government for their joint planning of Stage 3 Taiwan Romantic Route 3, enabling Taiwanese and foreign athletes to visit the so-called “Inner-Mountain Highway”—the motherland of Hakka people—and learn more about Hakka culture.

2024 Tour de Taiwan is a major bicycle race in Asia, attracting the participation of 205 top-notch riders in 24 teams from 38 countries, including six 2nd category teams, the most stunning lineup in a decade. Romantic Route 3 is the third stage in this year’s competition, spanning 154.3 km with a treacherous meandering course, the only one to cross three counties/cities. This year, the Baozhong Yimin Temple in Fangliao, Hsinchu acted as the start for the first time. All cyclists gathered to pray to Ngi Min'ia, the deity enshrined in the temple, for a safe, smooth race in anticipation.

Along the course, more than 50 cheerleading squads motivated the cyclists, integrating Hakka imagery like Hakka lion dances and tung blossoms in their choreographies. After the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister Chou headed to the sprint at Shangguan Elementary School to continue to show support for the riders. In the afternoon, he participated in the stage awards and closing ceremony at Shigang Visitor Information Center. The Stage champion was Australian national Bentley Niquet-Olden of the CCACHE x Par Küp team; the General Classification (yellow jersey) winner was Mason Hollyman of Israel - Premier Tech team; the Points Classification (green jersey) number one was Matteo Malucelli of JCL Team UKYO; the King of the Mountain (red dots jersey) was Antoine Debons of the Team Corratec - Vini Fantini; and the Best Asian Rider was Yuma Koishi of JCL Team UKYO.

This year’s Tour de Taiwan spanned five consecutive days in five stages: Taipei City Stage, Taoyuan City Stage, Romantic Route 3 Stage, Nantou County Stage, and Kaohsiung City Stage, offering a variety of settings for this international competition and showcasing Romantic Route 3’s lush greenery and majestic ridges to the world. This in turn promotes and markets Hakka villages internationally.