Last Wins First Race for OMX!

Annie Last wins in South Africa, Mariske Strauss third and Cherie Vale 5th.

 

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Annie Last opened her 2016 racing account and Olympic qualification bid with a convincing win at the opening round of the South African Cup in Mankele.

 

It was a proud day for the team as the British Champion took to the start line for the first time in OMX kit. After a solid two weeks of training near Cape Town, Annie had just about got to grips with the heat of a South African summer and really showed her class on a varied course that suited the technical, powerful rider. After the race Annie said,

“January is early for me to race but I really enjoyed it – I felt strong and came away with a win which is great! I was certainly mindful of overheating and rode the opening laps a little conservatively to ensure I didn’t mess up the rest of the race. The course was really good, with some nice smooth recovery sections, some steep climbs and some great singletrack and descents.”

 

Mariske Strauss continued her comeback from an injury-filled 2015 with a well-fought third place. Mariske was excited to get the 2016 season underway and was full of her usual enthusiasm –

“I am super stoked to be back on the bike and racing. It’s a fun track and the Silverback SBC 1.0 is the perfect bike to bring out the absolute best in it!”

 

Sitting in fourth place for the first half of the race, Mariske looked strong but not quite back to her usual level. She pushed hard to make up a position and finish in third place. It was not quite the race she had hoped for but conceded that it was a step in the right direction.

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Cherie Vale had also hoped for a better result in Mankele. Following her best-ever preparation for a season, Cherie had found confidence and was looking forward to seeing her training pay off. Unfortunately she fell sick on Friday morning and consequently suffered in today’s race. It was really dissapointing for our South African Champion. To feel this frustration and upset is a part of being an athlete and her reaction shows just how much she wants to perform well. Still, a podium finish in fifth and a fire in the belly to bounce back and showcase her abilities at the next race.

 

With three podium places we can be happy with the day’s work, but we can also be proud that a third and fifth place were less than Mariske and Cherie hoped for. There is more to come from these girls!

 

Congratulations Annie on a perfect start to your OMX career! Now onto the next races, following that Road To Rio…

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Team 2016

There has been just one change to the Novus OMX Pro Team line-up this year, with Annie Last filling the gap left by Martin Gujan. That means that Shlomi, Mariske, Cherie, Martin Gluth and Isla all stay on with the team in 2016, and we are delighted to have them continue the journey with us. 

 

Over the past year this group of riders have made strong bonds and supported each other through the trials and tribulations of elite sport. With this friendship in place, we are really excited to add more adventures and fond memories to those we experienced last year.

Shlomi is a person and athlete that is is hard not to love! His kindness, humour and dedication fitted straight into the team and he has been a superb ambassador for the team and our sponsors over the last year. His win at the HC International in Pietermaritzburg was a highlight of the season, and winning both the XCO and XCM Israeli National Championship titles was also a fantastic achievement. In 2016 the Olympics take centre stage and Shlomi is completely committed to becoming Israel’s first ever Olympic mountain biker. Watch this space!

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Also gunning for Olympic qualification is our South African duo of Mariske Strauss and Cherie Vale. Mariske had a frustrating season with injuries that forced her out of competition and training. However, along with Cherie, she managed some great racing at Cape Epic, and showed her steel with a comeback race at the World Championships. Starting off the year in the same positive way at Cape Epic, Cherie then really grew as an elite rider last year. Her desire to learn and improve, alongside some impressive results – namely winning the South African National XCO Championships – showed the World that she is on the ascendency and ready to step it up again in 2016. Both these girls will be on a qualification mission early in 2016. A place at Rio will be hard to attain, but Mariske and Cherie will undoubtedly put their hearts and souls (and really big smiles) into it! We look forward to having these two popular South Africans back in the fold this year.

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Isla is another of our riders who suffered from an illness and injury-ridden season. Having been one of the World’s top junior riders, Isla is a promising U23 talent. In her first year she had little chance to prove it, but 2016 looks set to be a chance to shine. If anyone has the fire in her belly to overcome obstacles and achieve great things, it’s Firegirl herself!

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Lastly, it’s a great pleasure to have Martin Gluth stay with the team for 2016. Martin is so easy to be around, at leisure and when it comes to race time. He is meticulous and focussed yet relaxed and fun. In 2015 Martin had a really solid season with a consistent World Cup campaign, podiums in South Africa and Germany, and a flair that shows real promise for the coming years.

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All in all we are very happy with the composition of Team 2016. We have great riders and great people together in a professional but really fun environment. It looks like a good recipe for success!

Read more about our fantastic riders in their OMX Rider Bios, here.

Together, #weareOMX.

ANNIE LAST SIGNS FOR OMX

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that British Champion and Olympian, Annie Last, will join Novus OMX Pro Team in 2016.

 

To have a truly World-class British Champion on this British team is a dream come true. The team’s growth, especially over the last year, has put us in a position where we can sponsor and support a rider of Annie’s quality and provide an environment in which such a rider can thrive.

 

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Annie is a four-time British Elite Champion, two-time U23 World Championship Silver Medallist, U23 World Cup Winner, London Olympian (8th place), and Elite World Cup podium finisher. All of this, and still just 25 years old! Annie is, however, much more than just her impressive palmares. She is a friendly face and a wonderful ambassador for the sport as a whole and the many organisations that she works with; she is an excellent role-model with a vast experience who remains passionate and humble; she is a consummate professional both on and off the bike and will no doubt bring both results and lots of laughs to the team.

 

Annie has had a tough few years with a serious back injury and the subsequent struggle to regain fitness and form. Looking to the future, Annie wanted a stable team environment that she would feel at home in, and the best equipment to race with, to aid her journey back to the top. Here at OMX we know that we can provide both of these key elements for Annie, and it is a great honour that Annie has this confidence in us.

 

“I am really excited to be part of the Novus OMX Pro Team in 2016. The team is made up of people who are passionate, who will support me to achieve my goals, and who will also have a great time doing it.
I chose OMX Pro Team because I wanted to be part of a good team environment with people who are passionate about bike racing. Having good support from the team allows me to get on with training and racing my bikes as I know I have good people in the background helping me out and looking after me and making sure I have everything I need. Good equipment to race and train on is really important, I want to get back to the front of races and compete with the best in the world, so having bikes and equipment that is some of the best in the world is key.
With OMX I have a great training and race programme which will allow me to perform to the best of my ability and hopefully go fast! It is Olympic year, so it is really important to have everything in place to help me score qualification for Rio.”

 

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Signing Annie Last signifies another big step forward for Novus OMX Pro Team. Not only do we have Britain’s current top cross-country rider, we now have genuine World Cup winning potential. This is the talent that Annie has, and we are very excited that our respective journeys to World Number One will now be together.

You can follow our 2016 journey across social media – we would love to have you on board! To find out a bit more about Annie, check out her OMX Rider Bio here.

#weareOMX

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