Comeback of the Year - Loic Bruni's World Championship Gold
Bruni's French flair had been hiding away in the dark since his first World Championship win in Andorra at the end of 2015 and his Cairns World Cup win early in 2016. With some out of character crashes, bad weather, injuries, and a rare DNS, most of his results floated around the top five, but didn't garner huge attention.
It's easy to forget that Loic is still young, though, and is continuously working on the long game of being one of the greatest ever. His riding over the last few years has been solid and never looks like he is pushing, a solid rider with a bike and suspension setup that rarely seem to be on a limit.
At this year's World Champs, Mick Hannah had spent an anxious chunk of time sweating it out in the hot seat, watching rider after rider turning the screen red as they passed the line. Bruni pipped the local boy by 0.339s and we expected the remaining faster qualifiers to knock the leaders down a few more pegs. But nobody could match the Frenchman's fluidity and stylish smoothness.
Simmering away before his full gas win over and astounding Mick Hannah provides Bruni the trophy for Pinkbike's 2017 Comeback of the Year Award.