4-Time World Champ and the World Cup Overall
Loic Bruni won his fourth World Championship title and his third on the trot, which has me thinking that the Frenchman knows how to handle himself under pressure. ''It's the only race with a title at the end,
'' he told Pinkbike's Sarah Moore in a post-race interview
. ''We do World Cups all year with a title at the end but an individual World Cup doesn't bring you any title or jersey or anything, and this one is always special because you get to wear the jersey for the whole year.
'' What makes Bruni so good at the all-or-nothing race that is World Champs? ''I think maybe it's the way the French team works with us. We have a lot of people on track. Everything around me is perfect,
'' he said of his support team.
After earning yet another set of rainbow stripes, Bruni went into the final round of the series at Snowshoe, West Virginia, with a decent chance of taking the overall title against countryman Amaury Pierron. In what might have been one of the most exciting races in years
, Pierron was nipped to the win by just 0.656-seconds by Danny Hart. That was enough to give Bruni, who was 2.149-seconds back in fourth, the 2019 World Cup overall title.
Her First World Cup Overall Title
Sticking with the racing theme, Australia's Tracey Hannah had a hell of a September that saw her earn her first World Cup overall title by coming home in fifth at the final round in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Hannah, along with most of the field, has been playing catch-up against Rachel Atherton for what feels like years and years now, but a consistent 2019 season, along with wins at Leogang and Les Gets, gave her the crown.
Wins and overall titles are worth their weight in gold, but something tells me that they're especially valuable to Hannah's sponsors who have watched other brands take countless victories. But in 2019, SR Suntour and Polygon can say they've notched multiple World Cup elite victories and an overall title thanks to Hannah.
A Standard that Makes Sense
SRAM'S $15 Universal Derailleur Hanger
We'd all love to see a bit of conformity applied to seatposts, hubs, and bottom bracket dimensions, and of course down at the derailleur hanger. The first three probably won't ever happen, but SRAM is moving ahead with their $15 USD Universal Derailleur Hanger
to tackle the latter. Yes, the UDH costs just $15 retail, and it's also open-source; there are no licensing fees for bike brands to use it.
Why would SRAM make a hanger if bike companies already use their own? That's part of the problem, as some have use dozens of different hanger designs over the past few years. Do you need the hanger from 2016 or 2017? There's a good chance that they're not the same, of course.
Having a single hanger design that's used across different brands and bikes also makes sense because it brings a bit of consistency to one more variable that can affect shifting. A case of better late than never, you might say, just as long as enough brands get on board. Here's hoping that's exactly what happens.
Death and Injuries
Intense's COO passes, More Injuries Hit Elite Riders
We don't need any reminders of how dangerous this sport is, but we got exactly that in September. Chad Peterson had previously been at Cannondale, Selle Royale and Crankbrothers, but most knew him as Intense's Chief Operating Officer where he was a large part of the Californian brand's move into carbon fiber, as well as its more recent models like the Sniper and new Primer platform. Unfortunately, Peterson passed away
following injuries sustained in a cycling accident.
''Chad’s strong spirit will live on in our memories,
” stated Jeff Steber, Intense founder and CEO. ''He lived his life Intense and his drive for cycling inspired the majority of the bikes created since his arrival.
There is no person that represents Intense For Life in a better way than Chad has. He felt like our Superman here—always invincible—and his passing will continue to not seem real."
MS Mondraker's Brook Macdonald had a hard crash during timed training
at the World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec. The result was two fractured vertebrae and some serious surgery, and the evacuation wasn't exactly a quick process, either. But while many were braced for the worst, Brook's personal Instagram is full of positivity and progression, with the New Zealander making some serious strides towards recovery at a remarkable rate. Kate Weatherly
also suffered a spinal injury at Mont Sainte-Anne, and ended up having surgery closer to home in New Zealand to stabilize her C1 and C2 vertebrae. Best of luck to both competitors for a complete recovery.
While less serious than Brook's ordeal, Gee Atherton is also on the injury list with a bum arm
that required surgery to sort out. Word is that he was with the Nitro Circus crew in the Dyfi bike park when he went down, and the news means that Atherton will have to pass on this year's Red Bull Rampage event.
Rainbow Stripes for Online Racing and Pumptrack
2019 is super weird. First, news broke on the 26th that our pals at the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's governing body, are considering holding the first-ever cycling e-sports world championships next year
via Zwift. That's right, it sounds like someone out there is going to earn a set of rainbow stripes for riding indoors. Crazy, right? Maybe not. The e-sports global economy is predicted to top one billion dollars this year, and it's already huge in auto racing, soccer, and other mainstream sports. One example is Jann Mardenborough; the British car racer won Nissan's GT Academy that saw him compete against 90,000 others in online racing.
That victory gave him the opportunity to race the Dubai 24 Hours IRL where he finished third, and he's competed in different open-wheel racing series since then, none of which would have happened if Mardenborough hadn't tried his hand online first. The Canyon-SRAM team's Zwift Academy took a similar approach when they went online to let riders try-out for a professional contract, with Kiwi Ella Harris earning herself a spot on the team for the following season.
But wait, it gets stranger. In a move that seems more like someone's dad trying to look cool than anything else, the UCI is also handing out rainbow stripes for pumptrack-ing
. The highest-voted comment came from PB user @bikebike69
who said ''Attaching the UCI to this kills the vibe of it,
'' which many readers seemed to agree with. Also, while I've had great fun on pumptracks and Zwift (for real), I feel like giving UCI-recognized World Champ titles to each only takes away from the weight that the stripes carry for the more traditional competitors.