The Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge will run its third edition on October 15-20, 2012 in Malyasia. The action will happen all over the island of Langkawi as racers compete for US$125,000 in cash.
Defending champion Karl Platt of Germany will return to defend his title. Steffen Thum, who is ranked number one in the UCI marathon world series, Simon Gegenheimer, Burry Stander, Florian Vogel, Todd Wells, Fabien Giger and Nick Craig are among the other top contenders expected in the men's category.
Among the ladies, Burry Stander's wife Cherise Stander, who races both road and mountain bike events, will be challenging defending champion Nathalie Schneitter, Blaza Klemencic, Eva Lechner and Lea Davison.
Origins of a young mountain bike stage race
Race promoter Datuk Malik Mydin explained how the event came to be. "It was an idea that had been germinating in the mind of Malaysia's longest-serving Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who also generated the idea of Le Tour de Langkawi in 1996. He wanted a cycling event of an international stature to help promote Langkawi to the world."
"With Tun Dr Mahathir as the driving force, I was given the task of executing the idea, given my background as a former national cyclist and my role as the CEO of Human Voyage Sdn Bhd, an event management company. So within a short period of time, we managed to pull all our resources and with the help of our sponsorship partners, we attracted as many as 800 riders for the inaugural event."
LIMBC is open to all levels so that the more casual enthusiast can also experience a world class course and participate alongside the world's best - a format adopted by many such mountain bike stage races.
"Participants will get to enjoy the best Langkawi can offer - treasured landmarks and beauty spots including Eagle Square, Telaga Harbour, Oriental Village, Langkawi GeoPark and a stunning beach finale at Pantai Kok," said Mydin. "Best of all, you sweat it out and after all the adrenaline-pumping action, you can conveniently park your bike somewhere and take a vacation. Langkawi is a true ecological gem, the perfect combination of sea, sun, fascinating rainforests, mysterious mangroves, birds and wildlife."
Racers should expect to see Malay kampongs (villages), jungles and rice fields; crocodile and snake farms; and monkeys everywhere.
A boost to Malaysian cycling
A race like LIMBC is important for Malaysian cycling. "The 2012 event has taken a huge leap in terms of its status and has been selected as one of only 10 mountain bike stage races worldwide to be included in the UCI international calendar," said Mydin.
"Furthermore, LIMBC 2012 is now the highest ranked mountain bike event in the whole of Asia, but LIMBC's growth and ambition goes beyond 2012."
"A successful LIMBC 2012 would strengthen Langkawi's current bid to host one round of the annual UCI MTB Marathon Series in 2013 and the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships in 2016. These events represent the pinnacle of mountain biking competition and bring with them considerable foreign spectator support, international media interest and television coverage. We are hopeful that LIMBC becomes the brand that associates mountain biking with Malaysia."
The race will welcome back top local racers including Ahmad Fauzan Lutfi (men's open) and Masziyaton Mohd Radzi (women's open). But Shahrin Amir, who won the Tour de Timor recently, could provide a stiff challenge to Fauzan.
Details on the 2012 edition
The 2012 LIMBC will include six total stages. The itinerary is detailed below.
Day 1: Prologue at Eagle Square, 2.4km
Day 2: Round Island cross country, 65km
Day 3: Race from East to West Langkawi, 45km
Day 4: Langkawi marathon, 87km
Day 5: Olympic distance cross country around GeoPark, 4.5km circuit
Day 6: Beach front finale around Pantai Kok, 1.6km circuit