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Belgian cyclist Tijl De Decker wins Tour de Taiwan Stage 3

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Belgian cyclist Tijl De Decker (pack leader). Photo taken from Tour De Taiwan Facebook

Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Belgian cyclist Tijl De Decker from the Lotto Dstny Cycling Team won stage 3 of the Tour de Taiwan Tuesday, completing the 150 kilometer course from Hsinchu to Taichung in a time of three hours, 46 minutes and 18 seconds.

The 154.5km route, which included two intermediate sprints and two KOMs, started in Hsinchu and finished at the Shihgang visitor center in Taichung. The weather was sunny with a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius making conditions ideal for racing, according to the Chinese Taipei Cycling Association (CTCA).

Stage winner De Decker said at the post-race press conference that the racing was fierce and competitive, but he couldn't be happier with the outcome.

"I can't put into words how excited I am to have won my first Tour de Taiwan stage and for my team to have its first win in this race. It's my first trip to Taiwan, and the support and warm welcome from the fans and organizers have been incredible," De Decker said.

Meanwhile, the standout performance of the race was from Colombian cyclist Camilo Andres Gomez of Trinity Racing, who led a four-man breakaway for 70km, CTCA said in a statement, adding that he was awarded the combativity award for the stage.

With two more stages left in the race, Dutch cyclist Raymond Kreder from JCL Team UKYO currently heads the general classification with a time of 8:25:29, followed by Spaniard Jordi Lopez Caravaca from Equipo Kern Pharma six seconds behind.

The longest stage in the race is Stage 4 on Wednesday at 169.43 km over 1.5 loops around Nantou County. It also features one of the toughest climbs in the race near Shuan Zhang Temple.

The stage starts at Nantou County Hall, then passes through Jiji, Shuili, Yuchi (near Sun Moon Lake), and Puli before heading east toward Caotun, then back toward Nantou County Hall, finishing at the Xiangshan Visitor Center near Sun Moon Lake.

On the last day of the event stage 5 on Thursday, the riders will cover 146.44 km and face some of the biggest climbs in the race.

The stage starts from the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum in Dashu District in Kaohsiung and heads north to Qishan, Meinong, Liugui and Jiaxian, before turning south through Shanlin, Qishan, Dashu, Yanchao, Nanzi and Zuoying, finishing at Kaohsiung National Stadium.

The 2023 Tour de Taiwan, held March 12-16, covers a total of 670.3 km around Taiwan over five stages.

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