KUALA LUMPUR (June 21, 2012): The Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) appears to be sprinting up the ranks in terms of its status in only the third year of its existence.

The 2012 edition, scheduled for Oct 15-20, has been selected as one of only ten mountain bike stage races worldwide to be included on the international calendar issued by cycling’s world governing body, the UCI. As a result, LIMBC now carries the status of being a Class 2 cross country stage race (XCS) with world ranking points awarded to the top 25 highest placed overall finishers.

This was revealed at the launch officiated by LIMBC honorary patron, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, here today. Also present were race organizer and Human Voyage Sdn Bhd chief executive, Datuk Malik Mydin.

The course will take the participants to the best and most scenic places 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.

Tun Dr Mahathir said 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 2015.

Tun Dr Mahathir also said that “These events represent the pinnacle of mountain biking competition and bring with them considerable foreign spectator support, international media interest and television coverage. This is where LIMBC can play a valuable role in developing tourism.”

“There are today many hundreds of thousands of enthusiast mountain bikers worldwide who enjoy traveling to discover new experiences and participate in endurance events such as LIMBC. Many countries in the West are enjoying the economic benefits of having a tourism strategy that includes quality mountain bike trails, with facilities and events to support them. In Scotland for example, tourism statistics suggest 1.3million people visit the country each year for the purpose of mountain biking with 600,000 of them visiting purpose built trails,” continued Tun Dr Mahathir.

“As a result, mountain biking has become the number one tourism leisure activity in terms of economic contribution (overtaking golf, walking and fishing) by generating an annual GBP119million (nearly RM600million per year) to Scotland’s economy. This figure is projected to increase by 30% over the next five years. Let us hope Langkawi too will be able to reap the economic benefits by catering for the demand in quality trails,” Tun Dr Mahathir said during his speech.

Datuk Malik Mydin said, “Following the success of the past two editions of LIMBC, a positive image of Langkawi is being spread amongst the mountain bike community. As a result, we are confident that a number of the world’s top 20 riders (both male and female) will be in amongst the 500 participating in the 2012 race.”

“Already LIMBC 2012 is offering total prize money totaling US$125,000 (approx RM400,000) – the highest prize purse for a mountain bike event anywhere in the world today!” exclaimed Datuk Malik Mydin.

“In addition, LIMBC now offers valuable UCI World Ranking points for both its male and female competitors. But LIMBC is not just about elite athletes and world champions. LIMBC is open to all levels of ability and structured so that the more casual enthusiast can also experience a world class course and participate alongside the world’s best,” continued Datuk Malik Mydin.

This year’s LIMBC will flag off on Monday Oct 15 with a prologue individual time trial of 2.3km around Eagle Square and Lagenda Park, followed by Stage 1, a 65km round the island race.

Stage 2 is a 45km race from East to West Langkawi, followed by the events ‘Queen Stage’, the gruelling 90km Langkawi Marathon. Stage 4 is an Olympic distance Cross Country race around Langkawi GeoPark followed by Stage 5, a stunning beachfront finale around a fast short circuit at Pantai Kok.

In 2011, Germany’s Karl Platt and Switzerland’s Nathalie Schneitter clinched the overall victory in the men’s elite and women’s elite categories, respectively.

Registration is accepted either via online registration at www.mtbmalaysia.com or by sending the completed downloaded registration forms and bank-in reference number of the registration fee to fax number 603-9222 1786 or via email info@mtbmalaysia.com. Log on to www.mtbmalaysia.com for further details.