GERMAN DUO FORM ‘SILVERBACK OMX’ FOR CAPE EPIC 2017

OMX Pro Team’s Martin Gluth will pair up with Julian Schelb for the 2017 Cape Epic.

The German duo will be aboard the Silverback Sesta Superbike, and with unparalleled and focussed support from our bike partner, will ride under the team name, ‘Silverback OMX’ for the eight days of untamed African adventure that is Cape Epic.

The Sesta is tried, tested and proven at the Cape Epic, having been raced to a stage win and a third place in 2015, and numerous top tens in 2016.

 

Martin rode the Cape Epic for the first time last year and made quite an impression on the race, mixing it up with the big-name, experienced teams and finishing fifth on two stages. Martin says the Cape Epic was a highlight of his 2016 season and he is very much looking forward to taking on the challenge again in 2017, this time with some experience of what to expect and how to handle it.

“In the Cape Epic you have always ‘ups and downs’. You can suffer like hell already after 30 minutes of a 4.5 hour stage, but the page can turn from one moment to another. This was an experience I figured out last year and it will help Julian and me for this year. We did already so many kilometers of training and racing together and we are very good friends. I think the partnership at the Cape Epic will work out well! We know the strength and weaknesses of each other. This should help us in difficult situations. I am really looking forward to race with him!”

 

 

Along with Martin, Julian has been a member of the German National Team for many years, during which he won Silver at the 2013 U23 World Championships in Pietermaritzburg. He has also trained in Stellenbosch each winter for the last six years, so although Julian is new to Cape Epic, he is not new to suffering and success on South African soil!

“I have watched it live in 2015 and loved the atmosphere and the adventure paired with racing. Since then it has been a big goal for me to race this special MTB race”, says Schelb.

While riding for the Multivan Merida Team, Julian got some good advice:

“Näf and Hermida told me the most important thing for Cape Epic is to ride with a good friend, not only a strong rider. And I think this is true. To know each other well and seeing how the partner feels is a great advantage for us. We will fight together for the best position possible and help each other in difficult situations.”

 

Team Manager, Paul Beales, is really positive about what the 2017 Cape Epic can bring for the Silverback OMX pairing.

“The Cape Epic is a race where experience is invaluable, and I feel that after four years competing at the Cape Epic we have some good experience and a team that is capable of fighting for the top positions.  We will go in with a good race strategy and look to improve on the results from previous years”

 

Martin and Julian will kick off their Epic African adventure on 19th March in Meerendal Wine Estate, just north of Cape Town. You will be able to follow the race live with updates, videos and reports across our social media throughout the week.

Bring it on!

OMX’S NATIONAL CHAMPS FORM ‘HANSGROHE-CADENCE OMX’ FOR 2017 CAPE EPIC

TWO AWESOME CHAMPIONS, ONE EPIC RACE.

OMX’s two Elite female riders are pairing up to take on one of the biggest races in the World, the Cape Epic.

British National Champion, Annie Last, and South African National Champion, Mariske Strauss, will race eight days through South Africa’s stunning Western Cape in a bid for podium places, UCI points, and a strong foundation for the cross-country season.

Annie and Mariske will be backed by two fantastic title sponsors and will race under the team name, Hansgrohe-Cadence OMX.

Hansgrohe is a premium brand for bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and is a title sponsor of the Bora-Hansgrohe team of road race World Champion, Peter Sagan. They are also a major sponsor of the Cape Epic and have extended their commitment to the race to include supporting our Elite ladies team.

Cadence Nutrition has been OMX’s nutrition partner since the beginning of the 2016 season. We have worked closely with the brand over the past year and have developed a love and trust of their products. We are very happy that they will be a major sponsor of our Cape Epic race.

Head of Cadence Nutrition, Jeroen Swart, has been Mariske’s coach for six seasons and is a strong believer in OMX and our journey. He says,

“[Mariske] undoubtedly has the talent and ability to compete for stage wins and the overall title at the Cape Epic. If she finds the form she is capable of and paired with Annie, another supremely talented athlete, they might be the surprise package of the race.”

 

Of course our ladies also have the superb support of Silverback Bikes. Silverback are passionate about the Cape Epic and the Silverback Sesta Superbike was created and developed alongside OMX at this very race. It is the perfect bike for the job, and with the upgraded Sram Eagle drivetrain these bikes are set to shine! With Silverback we know we have a fully committed and dedicated team who will be pivotal to the success of Annie and Mariske’s race.

The 2017 Cape Epic starts in the beautiful Meerendal Wine Estate on the outskirts of Cape Town on 19th March. From there the race takes the riders over 691 kilometres and 15400 metres of vertical ascents before finishing up in Val di Vie on 26th March.

This will be Mariske’s third Cape Epic and she will look to her experience to help carry the team through the eight days of untamed African adventure. She knows it’s going to be painful, but being Mariske, she looks forward to that:

“The epic is such a well-organised, World-class event, and they always seem to top the previous year and finish it off treating everyone like kings. I can’t wait to share the experience with Annie and have a blast riding ourselves into a heap of hurt. The race fits in perfectly as the World Cup season only starts at the end of May; it will be perfect to push us to the next level and remind us how to suffer properly!”

Annie is a Cape Epic newbie but she certainly is not in the dark about the race.

“I have heard lots about the Cape Epic, about how great the stages are and how amazing the scenery is. Also I keep getting told how hard it is and how you can’t prepare yourself for it. I’m going in excited to get stuck in to my first Epic and to see what it’s like.” With regards to Mariske as her partner, Annie adds, “Mariske has so much energy and positivity. She has ridden the Cape Epic twice before and so has big experience and knowledge. As a local South African, she is also the designated wildlife handler incase of any encounters!”

 Safari scenarios aside, Annie and Mariske don’t have too much to worry about. They are both in fine form and training really well through the winter. Furthermore, they will be aboard the Cape Epic tried and tested Silverback Sesta Superbikes which have performed perfectly in the 2015 and 2016 editions.

We can’t wait to see what the Hansgrohe-Cadene OMX team can do. Watch this space!

 

Tankwa Trek Recap

There’s nothing quite like three days of full-gas stage racing to kick start your season! 

The Tankwa Trek provided just that, with Martin and Mariske pairing up with Martin Frey and Yolande De Villiers respectively to challenge some of the very best of the World’s stage and marathon racers.

Over three tough, classic South African stages, our riders duked it out for daily podium places and general classification glory. The route was technical and testing, with plenty of single track to keep our cross-country riders happy. However, with the likes of powerhouse pairings Karl Platt/Urs Huber, and Alban Lakata/Kristian Hynek in the Men’s race, and big name riders like Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss in the Women’s, it was not going to be an easy task to take on the front of the race.

 

Martin Gluth and Martin Frey fighting hard in the lead group.

Martin Gluth and Martin Frey fighting hard in the lead group. Image: Zoon Cronje for www.zcmc.co.za

Stage One set the tone with a typically hot and hard day of pedal-to-metal racing.  A strong South African sun played its part, with ‘the Martins’ suffering in the middle of the stage but recovering well. Gluth felt happy with his form and said his partnership with fellow German, Frey, was working well. They finished in a fine fifth place. Mariske and Yolande settled quickly into the rhythm of the race. They sat second into the first piece of single track and retained that position to the finish with a strong and steady pace.

Stage Two was defined by the monster climb! Both ‘the Martins’ and Mariske and Yolande rode conservatively on the climb and this meant they could hold a good pace to the finish whilst other teams suffered. With another second place, the ladies retained their overall position, and with another fifth place, the Men moved up to fourth.

The final stage was set; Mariske and Yolande had their second place to defend and were ready to pounce if the leaders faltered, and Martin and Martin were in close battle for anything between second and sixth place overall! The ladies did have the opportunity to seize the front of the race and they took it in fine style, riding at the head of the field for much of the day and taking a fine win. The Men were also right in amongst the action, racing with the lead group right up until ten kilometres to go. In the end they sprinted it out for a podium place but missed out by just a couple of seconds.

Mariske was stoked to take a stage win and place second overall, whilst Martin was very happy to defend his 4th place in the General Classification.

Thanks to Tankwa Trek for a great event, and also a big thank you to Yolande and Martin Frey for teaming up with OMX and producing some super racing.

 

Martin and Mariske capped off their races with big smiles and a good feeling for the coming season.

And now…”we will have some days off!”, they said!

Tankwa Trek 2017 OMX

Satisfied with a job well done. Image: Zoon Cronje for www.zcmc.co.za