Langkawi is primed for a world-class mountain bike race with the second edition of the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) which begins with stage 1 at the Langkawi Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Besides minor technical adjustments made upon advice from UCI commissaires, the organisers are looking forward to an action-packed five-day event, starring some of the world's top 10 riders, including African champion Burry Stander.
LIMBC 2011 will feature five stages that begin with a 60km around-the-island stage 1 race to be flagged off by race honorary patron, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, followed by an Olympic distance cross country race which will start and finish at Kampung Tok Senik Resort as stage 2.
Stage 3 will be a six-hour endurance cross country special stage race at Telaga Harbour Park, Pantai Kok, followed by the nerve-shredding king of the mountain and cross country race which will end at the Gunung Raya Hill as stage 4, before the event will culminate with stage 5, a cross country short track race.
"Everything is going according to plan. The only technical change that has been made is the lap distance for stage 3 endurance race, which has been shortened from 7km to 4.5km per lap.
"Our workforce is dutifully putting the finishing touches before the big flag off," said race organiser Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin.
Abdul Malik also welcomed the presence of UCI adviser Kevin MacCuish, whose technical input is helping make LIMBC a platform for Malaysia to bid for the right to host a future round of the UCI World Cup series.
"It is our intention to bring one of the UCI World Cup legs into these parts of the world by 2013 and the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in 2015. LIMBC, therefore, will come under great scrutiny from UCI," said Abdul Malik.
The second edition of LIMBC has attracted a group of world-ranked riders, notably South Africa's Olympic hopeful, Stander, Germany's world ranked No. 7 Karl Platt and Italy's world ranked No. 8 in women's elite marathon rankings, Michela Benzoni.
Lending a touch of glamour to the race is the rare appearance of road ace Chris Froome of Britain. Froome, who finished as runner-up in the recent Vuelta a Espana, and the promising Adam Blythe will be taking part in the later stages of LIMBC and also the jamboree which will follow the end of the stage race.