PUTRAJAYA: The UCI MTBC Marathon World Series qualifying round, which makes its Asian debut later this month, could very well turn into a permanent feature in future editions of the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC).
However, organisers Human Voyage said that would depend on the response it received from the riders this year.
“It’s a great fixture to the LIMBC, to make it a 2-in-1 mountain bike event. But we’ll have to see the response this year and take it from there,” said Human Voyage CEO Datuk Malik Mydin at a press conference to announce three new co-partners – Tradewinds Corporation Berhad, Sime Darby Foundation and Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd.
The qualifying round, to be held on Sept 28, serves as the perfect prelude to the five-stage LIMBC, which will cover Lagenda Park, Oriental Village and Pantai Kok from Sept 30-Oct 5.
The top 20 finishers of the 80km race will qualify for the final round of the World Championship in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, next July. Both races are open to riders from national federations and professional teams.
“For the LIMBC, riders can expect pretty much the same tough as nails challenging course of the previous editions, with some improvement made for a better ride,” said Malik.
“We’ve stuck to the original course ... riders want to face the same challenges, so if we make it (the course) easier, it kind of takes the shine off the event.
“But we have made some changes to improve certain areas that were too muddy or steep and made them rideable this time.”
So far, the event has attracted over 200 international riders.
Apart from the big name riders like Olympic champion Florian Vogel, Germany’s Karl Platt and defending champions Fabian Giger (men’s elite) and Lea Davison (women’s elite), the event will also see 10 top-10 ranked professional teams in action as well as riders from 15 other countries – including Croatia, Indonesia, South Korea, Khazakstan, the Philippines and Thailand.
Meanwhile, the event was also attended by former Prime Minister and honorary patron of the LIMBC 2013, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“These sorts of events have their strong, loyal following and we want to attract these athletes to have a go at the event, raise the profile of Langkawi and also boost the island’s bid to possibly host the final round of the World Championships in the future,” said Dr Mahathir.
Cycling enthusiasts aged 12 and above can also compete in the 40km Fun Ride Jamboree (Sept 28) at Lagenda Park. The finishers will be eligible for the lucky draw to win a 1.6 Proton Saga FLX. Those interested can register online at www.mtbmalaysia.com.
The LIMBC 2013 is also supported by Berjaya Corporation Berhad and AmBank Group.