Having conquered Langkawi in style on his maiden attempt last year, German rider Karl Platt has no intention of being dethroned as the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge men's overall winner.
The Team Bulls ace, who won three stages en route to topping the general classification in the second edition last year, confirmed his defence of the title in the upcoming race this October 15-20.
The challenge of facing a much tougher and longer course in addition to an expected stronger field this year has not curtailed Platt's optimism in continuing his winning ways.
"The LIMBC was an awesome experience for me last year. Winning the general classification made for a perfect ending to my season, and I even had time to enjoy the beauty of the island a bit," said Platt.
"I'm excited to see the new route and after my success last year, I'm for sure not only coming back to just participate."
Platt, 34, was truly a dominant force in LIMBC 2011, winning stages 2, 4 and 5 and he never finished outside the top three en route to the overall title.
The record holding four-time winner of the Cape Epic in South Africa and seven-time winner of the TransAlp from Germany to Italy is currently ranked ninth in the UCI MTB Marathon Series.
Platt's track record especially at the TransAlp Challenge - a route that covers nearly 600km over eight days, which includes 20,000 metres of climbing - makes him a hot favourite to remain on the pedestal in Langkawi.
LIMBC organiser and CEO of Human Voyage Sdn Bhd, Datuk Malik Mydin, is happpy to have Platt back for the third edition. "We are delighted to see Karl return to Langkawi to defend his title. The moment he topped the GC in 2011, he intimated to us his plans of returning this year.
"We are happy that he has made good his promise. He showed himself to be a true champion at LIMBC 2011 against the tough competition in the form of top moutain bike cross country star Burry Stander.
"We know Karl had a long enjoyable holiday in Malaysia after the event so I'm sure the beauty of Langkawi Island was a major factor in his decision to return," Malik said.
The course for this year's LIMBC offers a combination of highly technical terrain with the natural jungles of Langkawi as a spectacular backdrop.
Whilst a number of the world's best riders are expected to descend upon Langkawi in October, LIMBC remains an event that is open to all above the age of 19. "It offers a unique challenge to those who seek to test themselves against the best riders and the toughest conditions," said Malik.
This year's edition offers a total prize money of US$125,000 (RM400,000) and is open to four categories of rider: Men open (ages 19-39 years), Women open (ages 19 years and above), Masters men (ages 40-49years) and Senior masters men (50 years and above).
This year's LIMBC will flag off on Monday, October 15 with the prologue - an individual time trial of 2.4km at the Eagle Square, followed by stage 1, a 65km round the island race. Stage 2 is a 45km race from East to West Langkawi, followed by a gruelling stage 3, the 87km Langkawi marathon. Stage 4 is an Olympic distance cross country race around Langkawi GeoPark followed by stage 5, a stunning beach front finale around a short circuit at Pantai Kok.