2017 Pinkbike Awards: Comeback of the Year Winner

Dec 13, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
PB Awards



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.


Loic Bruni won here a year ago and in practice was looking like the danger man to Mick Hannah s title hopes.

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.







Posted In:
Industry News



60 Comments

  • 236 4
 Sam was robbed...
  • 103 0
 I am not a Sam Hill flat pedal fan boy like so many here but this should really go to Hill. Bruni was never gone but Hill left to get the Enduro crown and came back to stir up the field at the DH worlds...
  • 14 3
 @michibretz: you could argue that sam hill hadnt gone anywhere. he has been at the top of the game for a long time. he just had a bitchin season
  • 30 4
 Yeah but Spesh pay more than Nukewhatsit
  • 5 2
 Haters going to hate
  • 4 2
 @adrennan: hill didn't ride DH this season, did he? I call that gone.
  • 4 0
 Sam Hill robbed, where are the recounts!
  • 4 0
 @michibretz: 6th at world champs?
  • 10 0
 Instead, I think you have to assume he's going to win the rider of the year award so they won't double him up.
  • 3 1
 Loic fudge hell no! Pinkbike cmon SAM HILL !!
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: Hell yeah! when was your last time in the hot seat at worlds?
  • 5 1
 @Rubberelli: I love hill as much as the next guy, but AOTY has got to go to Nino. You just can’t argue the shear dominance of an undefeated season plus WC.
  • 2 0
 Exactly what i thought @Rubberelli:
  • 1 0
 @aks2017: we'll see. We are awarding a first year competitor who became champion.
  • 46 0
 Sam Hill missed an entire season, showed up with an all mountain steed for shits and giggles and scooped 6th... let that sink in for moment, then rethink all this...
  • 4 1
 Gwin also rode a wet track at Mont St Anne, while the earlier riders rode a dry track. Have that sink in for a bit
  • 8 0
 And I just saved a ton of money on car insurance by switching to Reverse and getting the hell out of there. Let that sink in.
  • 44 0
 What in the Sam Hill?!
  • 2 0
 Now,now, now,now sumthings gone wrong I rekon.
  • 34 0
 Love Bruni, but Hill or Nyquist should've got this award. Loic just had a stretch of bad luck for like a year. He never "fell off" to make a comeback. Hill went away from the spotlight and racing success for a couple years. Nyquist went from BMX to MTB which is very impressive.
  • 7 1
 Switching disciplines is not a comeback ... impressive but wrong category
  • 29 0
 Norbs, please send Sam a condolences letter.
  • 21 0
 Man wins on the same track twice in a row? COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
  • 3 1
 Seriously - Loic wins a race a year for the last three, the last two on the same track, and that is a comeback? By that logic Gwin cameback to win the overall again this year. 27.5 wheels in DH racing had more of a comeback this year. But Loic is awesome and congrats to him.
  • 1 1
 26 got robbed! Sorry little groms, you’ll have to grow up and ride 27.5 and 29!
  • 15 0
 @Pinkbike: You spelled "Sam Hill" wrong.
  • 12 0
 Sam Hill all the way. Lets have a PB vote.
  • 9 0
 Seriously! This is kinda BS. Hill went from the TOP slid down to a regular dude then BACK to the TOP!! Not from decent, to top for one race. Lame PB
  • 10 1
 First Brexit, now this.
  • 3 0
 Very bold move by the PB folks to pick Loic over mtb folk hero, Sam Hill. But I do feel the mtb masses got it right this time.

Hill winning the EWS overall may not have surprised many late in the season. Let it be known, however, that very few believed EARLY in the year (heck, even as late as Tasmania) that he would be consistent enough to win it all. And yet he did.
  • 6 0
 F##k this s##t PB. I'm going to Vital Mtb.
  • 6 0
 wut.....
  • 6 0
 SAM WAS ROBBED!!
  • 6 0
 What a joke
  • 1 0
 I think you guys at PB got it wrong right here. I have to agree with all the comments, kind a majority of MTB guys vote for Hill’s commitment to race enduro and take overall winner. He showed what a commitment and dedication could do.
  • 4 1
 let's be serious here. why not just call them what they are. BS Awards instead of PB Awards. All the categories...
  • 2 0
 Bruni, really, Oh come on PB you really lost it on this one, how is one race a come back. Sam Hill was at another level this year. Should have been Sam Hill, no question.
  • 3 0
 Damn, that's crazy Sam didn't get it.
  • 5 1
 Fake News
  • 4 0
 Hill!!!!!
  • 5 1
 Sam Hill Vote up
  • 2 2
 Does somebody really care about these "awards"? Is there prize money involved? I think not. So we shall move on...

and hate on 29ers, hub standards, knock-blocks, or what is in fashion these days? :-))))
  • 1 0
 No but they do send you awards to display.
  • 2 3
 That event was freaking horrible. The fact that Mick and Sam both spent time in the hot seat should tell you something. Sea Otter's downhill is more entertaining. How this is a comeback of the year story is beyond me. The dude didn't really go anywhere.
  • 2 0
 Madness. Bruni's career is young. Despite his previous wins, he's still on the way up. Many, many people had put Sam away.
  • 1 0
 Ok, Sam did not get Athlete of the year... ...even an Enduro race of the year which he did not win for an award... THAT IS JUST A COVEFEE
  • 3 0
 BOOOOOO
  • 1 0
 Bruni?? Really??? Bullcr@p... Hill got robbed.. Whole championship, several month's..flat pedaling for the naysayers...
  • 1 0
 Looks like PB got a fat check from Spez to have Loic be the winner over Sam
  • 1 0
 For Hill isn't realy a comeback it's a f***ing domination this year!
  • 1 0
 You guys spelled "Sam Hill" a little wrong.
  • 2 0
 Come again?
  • 1 0
 you're dissing
  • 1 0
 ehhh
  • 1 0
 Andrew Cho.
  • 2 3
 Deserved!
  • 1 4
 Ryan Nyquist Vote up
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