One day, one run, all for a few stripes across your jersey. The World Championship is easily the single-most prestigious day in downhill mountain biking. Each year, the fastest riders of their respective countries travel to a different venue to race to win this coveted title. This year, the riders landed themselves in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, which saw rain throughout the week which lingered a sense of unknown in the depths of the pits.
Practice and qualifying provided the riders a completely different track than the one they saw on race day. After slipping and sliding down the course during the week, dust and dry dirt greeted the riders the morning of finals. Lined with massive crowds, the beautiful venue of Lenzerheide awaited for the pressure to build amongst the competitors.
The Enduro World Series breakout, Martin Maes made a stop in La Bresse just a few short weeks ago, only to upset the entire downhill community and take his first world cup win. Well, he was back for more. The young Belgian rode with heart to show the nay-sayers that he has what it takes and that his La Bresse win was no fluke. He stomped a blazing time early and would get comfortable in the hot seat.
Rider after rider came down, none with any real threat. That is until the two time champ, Loic Bruni got underway.
Rainbow jerseys and Loic Bruni go hand and hand, as we are all so familiar with seeing him wearing them. He has worn the stripes for two of the past three years. The notoriously quick Frenchman came out of the gate swinging, barreling through the rock garden up top and cranking hard out of the berms. Live stream showed Loic up at every split, but just by a slight margin, .9 of a second at the max. Bruni crossed the line with little breath left in his lungs, but he wasted no time to turn around to see the result.
An emotionless Martin Maes knew his time in the hot seat was over as Bruni’s face lit up with joy. Loic escaped the enduro specialist’s grasp by just two tenths of a second with four more riders to come. Two riders would come within a second, but none could knock down the supremacy of Loic Bruni, your 2018 UCI Downhill World Champion.
Bruni has now won 3 or the past 4 World Championships and seems to thrive in the one day pressure situations, when no less than 100% effort is accepted. Congratulations Lolo on a year well done and another fantastic finish to the season.