Raphaël Gagné joins Silverback OMX Pro Team

We are excited to welcome Raphaël Gagné to Silverback OMX Pro Team!

Raphael has a very impressive palmares and an equally desirable character; he will undoubtedly be a huge asset to the team in the coming seasons as he builds on his previous achievements and heads towards his ultimate goals.

A Canadian hailing from French-speaking Quebec, Raphael represented his country at the Rio Olympics, won the 2015 Pan-American Games and National Championships, has achieved a top ten World Cup result and posted seventh place at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

We are really looking forward to giving Raphael a professional, Europe-based team set-up that can support a full World Cup season. He has shown huge potential, and we believe there is plenty more to come with the support and dedication we will bring.

Raphael, too, is excited by this venture:

I am thrilled to join the Silverback OMX Pro team. Joining a European based UCI World Cup team with years of experience is very positive, I have a good feeling with the discussions I had with the management and can feel their passion and highest level of professionalism and attention to detail. I am very enthusiastic for what is ahead in 2018 and thankful we could sign to a 3 year agreement building towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

I am planing to race all the World Cups in 2018 and my goal is to be in the top 15. My ultimate goal in the World Cup is a top 5  – I came just short of that 2 years ago. In the long term Tokyo 2020 is my big goal, but of course Canadian National Championship are always a target and in 2019 I would love to have the chance to race for gold again in the Panamerican Games.”

Gagne, translated from French to English, means ‘wins’ – let’s hope there is plenty of them for Raph in 2018 and beyond!

Welcome to the team!

World Cup #5 – Two Top Tens

Here’s what went down at the legendary venue of Mont Sainte Anne, Canada…
Isla rode a brilliant race to finish inside the top ten for the second time this season, and with that she achieved qualification for the Commonwealth Games. She didn’t have a great start but the long opening climb allowed her to move up into tenth place in the early stages of the race, and then up to sixth after lap one. A few small mistakes on the extremely technical course cost Isla some time but her climbing legs clawed back the seconds and she was, for much of the race, in the running for fifth. By the final lap Isla had dropped to seventh but this still gave her a U23 career-best result and a wonderfully big smile at the finish!

Annie put in another impressive performance to finish eighth and bring herself within fifteen points of the World Cup overall third place. It was brilliant to see Annie on the front row of the World Cup start and she made the most of it by leading out the race and then attacking into the first technical climb to avoid any mishaps from other riders. Annie’s technical prowess was clear to see on the legendary Mont Sainte Anne course and this gave her precious seconds throughout the race. Annie had settled into her own pace by the end of lap one and was sitting in sixth position. The final two laps were tough and Annie was just out-sprinted at the finish and finished in eighth. She was really satisfied with her performance and the way the race unfolded. There are so many talented women who can win a World Cup, so to be inside the top ten is an amazing achievement. 

Martin had an incredible start, riding up into the top twenty by the top of the first climb. Near to the front of the race he avoided congestion and was able to showcase his skills on the descents. As the race settled, Martin was still inside the top thirty but unfortunately an untimely puncture lost him a lot of places and he found it difficult to then find his rhythm again. At the end of seven gruelling laps he finished in 52nd.
Five World Cups down, just one to go! Full focus on the final goals of the season.

Early Season Update

It’s mid-April already! The year is already getting on, but the season is still young. With the first XCO World Cup not until the end of May, we are still testing our cross-country legs and putting in some big blocks of training.

After the success of Cape Epic for Annie and Mariske, and what turned into an Epic training week for Martin, there were some very tired legs. These riders have been listening carefully to their bodies and recovering really well. Following some well-deserved rest, they are now in the process of switching from endurance training and racing to the fast, intense efforts of cross-country racing.

Tired bodies following Cape Epic!

One week after the Cape Epic, Mariske raced in Namibia. It was a tough call for a fatigued body, but she still managed an excellent  podium finish.

This weekend just passed, Martin and Annie took on the HC Sabine Spitz Gold Trophy in Bad Sackingen, Germany. A stacked Elite field of Men and Women made for some exciting racing and a true test of where our riders were at following their switch to XCO focus. Annie made an amazing start, leading the field round the start loop, and then settled into the lead group in the early stages of the race. Unfortunately with high tree pollen levels, Annie began to suffer badly with allergies and had to withdraw from the race on the penultimate lap. Despite not posting a top result, we are really positive about how Annie performed and all signs are good for some fine form to follow! Martin also put in a great performance. He was held up at the start but fought back to be racing in the top ten for the first half of the race. Towards the end of the race the pace was just a bit too high for Martin to maintain and he dropped back a few places but finished in a really strong 15th position. The sensations were good and Martin’s motivation is super high.

Up in Scotland, Isla has had a stellar start to her year. She began her 2017 campaign in Spain with the National Team, producing a superb 7th place Elite (2nd U23) at the HC level race in Banyoles. It was Isla’s highest ever HC result and a great indication of what’s to come. Indeed, she backed this result up with a dominant win at the opening Scottish XC Series and then a 2nd place at the British XC Series. Isla has her head held high and is full of excitement and confidence for the season ahead.

Isla BCXCS 1 podium

With this great start to 2017, we can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring!


Top Ten 2016

2016 was another amazing journey! Here are some highlights…


Martin Gluth was joined by Sascha Weber for the infamous Cape Epic back in March. The two young guns strung together a week of superb results, including two fifth places among some seriously seasoned stage race professionals.


IOC copyright rules mean that we can’t post photographs from the Olympics, but in case you somehow missed it SHLOMI WENT TO THE OLYMPICS!! The achievement was a far-off dream when the team started in 2004, but Shlomi made that dream come true when he made the final qualification criteria in La Bresse, pictured above. Not only did Shlomi make it to the Olympics, he rode the race of his life – riding in the front group of five before two punctures dropped him back to 29th. What a day that was!



After breaking her collarbone and fracturing a vertebrae in a training crash at Lenzerheide in 2015, Isla fought through serious mental and physical barriers to make her way back to fitness. This year in Lenzerheide, Isla produced one of the finest races of her life to finish 11th in the U23 race – her best-ever U23 World Cup result.



National Championships weekend was a huge success for the team. Our six riders brought home three Golds, two Silvers and a fifth place. To have three National Champions in one year is a real honour and we are incredibly proud to sport the stripes of Great Britain, South Africa and Israel.



As a British team it was a really special moment when Isla won the final round of the British National Series, and with it the overall title. We race all over the World but a home win is always special, and it was one we had been chasing a long time!


11, Last, Annie, Novus OMX Pro Team, , GBR

The inaugural Hadleigh Park International (HC class) was a fantastic event for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was the biggest XC race in the UK since the London Olympics. Secondly, it was at our official home and we got loads of support. Thirdly, we had Martin, Annie and Isla racing and they all finished in the top ten. Mega!



Martin’s 2016 season finished in fine style after a string of really successful races and numerous podiums culminated in a superb HC victory in Istanbul; Martin’s first UCI race win.


Of course most of the time we concentrate on and celebrate the successes of our riders, but it is also really important to recognise the dedication and hard work of our staff. We have a great group of helpers whose passion and perseverance keep the team moving forward.



Last but not least we must highlight the amazing support of our sponsors. We are honoured to work with our partners and we would be nothing without them.


Cheers to a super season, and here’s to even bigger and better things in 2017. 

2015 World Championships

The biggest race of the year – a huge focus for many riders – is done. The World Championships are a year’s worth of nerves, expectation, excitement and adrenaline compressed and condensed into one day. One chance.

The team had four riders selected by their national governing bodies to represent their country at the Worlds. Shlomi for Israel, Martin Gluth for Germany and Cherie and Mariske for South Africa.

Andorra’s inclement weather was a surprise but not a problem for our riders, and the course, despite its 2000m altitude, was to everyone’s liking. Although race day was sunny, the rain and thick fog of the previous week left the corners to become carnage and the rocks and roots almost not ridable in places. It was going to be a tough day in the office!

36, Vale, Cherie, Novus OMX Pro, , RSA

For Cherie it was her first (but definitely not last) World Championships. After just one year racing a full international season, she has proven herself as one of South Africa’s best and worthy of a chance to mix it up with the World’s finest athletes. It was a lesson in self-belief, and self-control which she managed admirably. Reflecting on her 50th position, she said…

“A fun XCO season has come to an end…Although my seatpost came off during one of my plunges into the dirt and the altitude made my lungs burn, it was a memorable experience. Well done to my fellow Saffas on a great performance and thanks to everyone who supported! With all the valuable experience I have received this year I can’t wait for next year’s season. I’m coming back wiser and stronger!”

For Mariske the Worlds were also a first – not her first Champs, but her first time racing again since a nasty ankle injury back in July. It was a big ask, but Mariske stepped up to the challenge with her usual bountiful bounce!

“It was a rough race. I felt super the first two laps but then my back started acting up again…think from running [the slippery mud had everyone off and pushing the bike at points]. But it is my first race back and can only get better… Beyond this I’m not sure there is much to say. My knee and ankle are a bit banged up. But very fortunate to have had the opportunity to race and thankful for all the support. Now just got to lick my wounds and move on to the next one.”

44, Strauss, Mariske, Novus OMX Pro, , RSA

It’s understandable that the girls sound a little deflated, but rest assured that they will already be lifting their chins and broadening their smiles, because that is what they do! Not only onwards, but upwards. Well done ladies, you did us all proud. 

Onto the men’s race. Martin and Shlomi had both had fantastic preparations and were feeling good to go, ready to rock!

Martin came away from the race with less than he hoped for in terms of the result, but really positive about the race:

“I finished 54th at the World Champs, with a number plate of 68 and from 107 starters. Sure I aimed for more but despite a chain drop close to the finish and some little crashes I had a good race! It was a really hard battle and I left definitely everything out there.”

68, Gluth, Martin, Novus OMX, SV Kirchzarten, GER

Unfortunately for Shlomi the race was a big disappointment. The weeks leading up to the race had gone well and he was all set for a strong performance, but on the day it just did’t happen –

“After few weeks of training in Livigno [high altitude in Italy] I arrived to the Worlds with good form and high motivation. I don’t know exactly what went wrong, but I had really bad day during the race. I pushed as hard as I could, unfortunately body & legs were empty and I couldn’t go the speed I wanted to. I still have other important races and I always keeping mind forward.”

It was a great shame for Shlomi, but he will be back next year to have his day, and he is already looking forward to the next races and ending his season on a high.

32, Haimy, Shlomi, Novus OMX Pro, , ISR

Team Manager, Paul, sums it up,

“Its always a special time of year when the World Championships come around and this year we had 4 riders selected, the most ever for us. Although the results weren’t quite what we were hoping for we can rest easy that Cherie, Mariske, Shlomi and Martin left everything on the race track on Saturday and that’s all we ever ask.”

The season’s biggest race is over but there are still more races to come, some particularly important for chasing Olympic points qualification. It’s not quite time to wind down yet! We will fight all the way, #weareOMX.


Cape Epic for Novus OMX Girls


Novus OMX Pro Team’s South African Women to take on Absa Cape Epic


Mariske Strauss Epic-Girls-3and Cherie Vale will pair up for the first time as teammates to compete in their home country  of South Africa, at the world’s biggest mountain bike stage race.


The team’s title sponsor, Novus Holdings (formerly Paarl Media Group), have invested in getting the ladies to the Cape Epic and take great pride in supporting two of South Africa’s biggest mountain bike talents through this iconic eight-day stage race.


The young duo, both known for their enthusiasm and megawatt smiles, will tackle this race with incredible determination and focus. These traits will not only see them through the race, but make them serious competitors.


“Thanks to my amazing team and sponsors, I will be aboard the dreamy Silverback Superbike Concept. Cherie is such a joy and I’m sure we are going to be, hands down, the happiest team. Along with such a great team backing us I don’t see how we can have anything but an amazing race,” says Mariske, who raced the Cape Epic for the first time in 2014 and is ready to step up to the challenge again.Epic-Girls-2


Both Mariske and Cherie will be riding Silverback’s aptly named Superbike Concept, a full suspension frame that will offer them a light and responsive yet comfortable ride. The ladies will be able to confidently rely on the bike during each gruelling stage.


As a professioEpic-Girls-1nal photographer, Cherie has seen the race through a lens but this will be her first year as a rider.

“I am really excited for the challenge and thrilled to be racing with Mariske. She is an inspirational athlete and has assisted me so much with my cycling performance. With an amazing support team and the award winning Silverback Superbike Concept we can focus on flying the Novus OMX Pro Team flag high,” says Cherie.



Partnership, pride and ambition. We are taking this on. #weareOMX

South Africa Cup #1

Shlomi and Cherie were in action for the opening round of South Africa’s National XC Series this weekend in Port Elizabeth.


The course was steep, rocky and technical both ascending and descending, and with temperatures in the high 20s it made for a demanding day’s racing.

What undoubtedly heightened spirits was the prospect of racing for the first time on their new Silverback bikes! It is often hard to race on a new and unfamiliar bike but feedback was immediately positive and spirits were high.


Cherie got the racing underway for Novus OMX Pro Team and quickly settled into second position. The commentator was full of praise for Cherie’s smooth bike handling but Cherie was in fact finding it difficult to find her rhythm. Nonetheless, a solid start to the series and more race conditioning under her belt.



Shlomi found himself pitted against many of South Africa’s top talents, plus a handful of international visitors, many of whom are gearing up for the infamous Cape Epic. As with Cherie, Shlomi struggled to find his fast legs and really get into the race. The heat was a problem for Shlomi who, after a fast start, had to back off the pace set by front runners such as Philip Buys and Emil Lindgren and just put in the best performance he could on the day. Ninth place was a good round-off to a tough couple of weeks’ training in the Southern hemisphere sunshine.

XCO#1-PE-127Many thanks to Ewald Sadie for the fantastic photography –  http://www.esphotography.co.za/



Paarl Media OMX Pro Team to ride Silverback’s Superbikes

Our journey to become the World’s top team will be ridden aboard the World’s best bikes. Born and defined by speed, Silverback are the ultimate bicycle.


At Paarl Media OMX Pro Team we are honoured and very excited to announce Silverback Bikes as our official bike supplier.


Of course, as a team aiming for the very top of world mountain biking we want to be riding the very best equipment. Silverback, with their team of the brightest industry experts and unwavering dedication to produce the ultimate bike, are a perfect match for us.


The team will be riding Silverback’s Superbike Concept range which offers everything that our elite riders could want from a race machine. Silverback’s Eurobike design award for the 2015 Superbike Concept 1.0 with BURST suspension science is a testament to the company’s successful ingenuity; the riders cannot wait to test it out and ride Silverback to race success in the coming years.


Deon Retief, Owner and Founder of Silverback says, “The Paarl Media OMX Pro Team mission and vision is perfectly aligned with Silverback. We share a passion and a drive to be the best and to harness young, dynamic, world class talent. We seek out Partnerships very carefully and this one was a perfect fit. Both parties are dedicated, hard-working and totally focused on its goals and one thing is certain: Great things are to come. We are both Born to be Fast!”


We are delighted to be working with such an innovative and passionate bike manufacturer and very much look forward to our partnership with Silverback Bikes for 2015.


To take a closer look at these Superbikes and learn more about the amazing technical specifications, check out the Silverback website: http://www.silverbacklab.com/bikes/sbc-superbike-concepts/sbc-mountain-xc/