Interview: Loic Bruni on World Championships, Mental Strength & French Spirit

Sep 3, 2019
by Sarah Moore  
Loic Bruni looking to three-peat as World Champ this weekend


The pressure was massive for Loic Bruni as the last rider to leave the start gate, but as he worked his way down the track, he was up at every split. It was a remarkable third World Championship title in a row for Super Bruni, and the fourth of his career. I caught up with the French rider after the race to find out more about why he is so dominant in the fight for the rainbow stripes, what he thinks his chances for the World Cup overall are, and how he works with a sports psychologist in a sport that requires physical and mental strength.


What is it about World Championships that is different to other races?


It's the only race with a title at the end. 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. It's also a moment where all the riders go all out because there's the win and then there's the rest. On the World Cup, it's sick to do a podium, it's really good, but in the World Champs, everyone just wants to win. No one wants to get a podium. I think the pace is even higher and it makes for really good racing.


Loic Bruni thunders across the line to take the win by just 0.5 of a second.


Why do you think you're so dominant at the World Championships?


I have no idea, honestly. I am super happy and I surprised myself again today, but I have no idea why I'm able to win World Champs three years in a row when I'm struggling to win World Cups, and especially doing full seasons and winning the overall. 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 I would say. Sometimes it's also hard to finish the job because you can have an average day or be a bit slow, choose bad lines. But the last three years I've been able to finish the really good job the people around me are doing. Obviously Amaury was going fast too. I think the Frenchies really like it I cannot explain it, but I am super happy to win again.


Loic Bruni Troy Brosnan and Amaury Pierron taking home the medals at World Champs
The golden boy Loic Bruni


What do you think it is about that French team dynamic that's different at World Championships? Or is it different from the usual dynamic?


I don't think it's different at Worlds. We have the French crew that's working for us. Normally we will only have our teams which makes it hard to cover the whole track for lines and stuff, especially here since it's super long. Now we have four more people than our team. So pretty much the whole track was perfectly analyzed and we knew where to go. With Amaury, we rode one time together this week and we keep sharing, even if we do it less than before because obviously the tension is massive at the end of the season with the overall. We still do it a little bit and help each other. We push each other up. It's hard to explain but I think it's brotherhood and spirit.


Do you think you can win the overall now?


I don't know. I didn't know if I could win Worlds. Obviously you never know. It's too hard to predict. I was happy to be able to deliver today. Next week is a totally different situation. We don't know about the track, we've never been there. I'm pretty tired so I don't know if I'll be fresh. I made Amaury and Troy angry. Everyone is going to be really mad and go out really hard for the last one. So I cannot say. Coming into the last two races I had everything to lose or I can go home with everything. So I already have one good thing to bring home, so the rest is kind of bonus.

Loic Bruni and Trot Brosnan after taking gold and silver
It s all falling into place for Loic Bruni in 2019.


Going into this season did you prioritize one over the other? World Cup or World Championships?


It's always delicate. You don't really think about World Champs because it's kind of far away. The last two years I've been injured so I always changed my goals to World Champs because the overall was gone. But this year I've been able to do the whole season so far so it's different for me. It's been three years now that I didn't do a full season. Winning the first one was a really good start and I had a big crash in Fort William so you never really know what you're going to do. I was trying not to think about the overall so much and just race as well as I could each round.

Then when I got the lead mid-season and I was having some thoughts about the overall I started to race more conservatively. That was pissing me off the last few rounds because I was not riding as good as I could I think. I was a little bit with a stick in the ass and not so relaxed. From defensive, I really attacked the track today and put more commitment. So I'm happy I'm still able to do it and I'm happy it was enough to win. I hope I can bring that dynamic to next weekend and try hard because it's pretty much going to be all or nothing again. If Amaury wins and I’m fourth I lose it. So it’s going to be hard. And honestly I’m cooked, it’s been a long season even if it’s a good one. I’m super tired, mentally and physically. It’s not a lot of races if you think about it, but it’s still so much tension and so many things going on every week. I’m going to go all or nothing but I’m also kind of excited for the season to be done.


Loic Blueni hovering over the XC course.


Do you work with a sport psychologist? What is that relationship like?


I work with the same guy I’ve been seeing for years now, since 2014. He actually works with Pompon too. We call him when we need and at the races I send him a summary of the day, how I feel. When I’m at home or when I’m in Europe for training, I can call him as well. We talk a lot about what’s going on in the moment and also the past races to build on that. He’s someone that makes me speak more than he is speaking so it makes me realize by myself the ways that I can optimize my level more than focusing on winning only. I come from far away because I’ve been super inconsistent before. A little bit too passionate let’s say, too emotional with some stuff. So I would be super good one race and total disaster the race after. So it’s been working well for me and I think it helped me a lot.


How does this World Championships win compare to the last ones?


It’s always different for sure. Last year I missed the first race of the year and I was focusing a bit more on that. It was super tight and I didn’t want to lose my stripes. But this time I really felt like I had nothing to lose with the season I’ve had. Even if I lost the jersey I was proud of the season. I just felt good in the gate. I was a little bit stressed for sure but I attacked a lot and I tried really hard. So when I crossed the line I knew I gave everything I had. All my energy was gone, my legs were burning and it felt amazing to deliver and that it was enough to win. I’m coming home with the jersey again. It just feels like the Specialized team has behind us the whole year and really supported us and I’m really happy to give them back the love.


Loic Bruni into the finish on his gold medal run



58 Comments

  • 114 1
 Started to read the interview and quickly realised that the voice in my head had a french accent!
  • 6 0
 oui oui Smile
  • 7 1
 Egzacly, Iam so super-appy fur heem. He is, how yoo say, always so pumped, an riding at his max-imum for World Shamps. An zis also makes me super-appy. Where iz Amaury, so i can geev heem a super-ug and ee can cry like a baybeee on my shoulders?
  • 33 0
 Great interview! I love the honesty and integrity, a true champion from champion stock. Beautiful to see it all comes together for the Bruni's. That does'nt happen often, father and son world champs in the same year. Cheers guys!
  • 9 0
 Father & Son World Champs two years in a row if I'm not mistaken. Bravo Brunis'.
  • 38 0
 @Augustus-G: Wondering why PB does not covers a single word on Masters World Champs... are we worse than ebikes? Many interesting stuff happening there... Misser beating Lopes on Enduro Bike... Brunis Dad.. etc etc...
  • 7 0
 @opignonlibre: oh yeah! Thx! I forgot I read this here too... so then I mean covering by bringing some pictures and words at least... Many PBikers deserves to know who are the fastest at their generation...
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: exactly
  • 3 0
 @PauRexs: I raced against Jean Pierre in 2003 and us being 42 he was faster than all of the 30 class
Two powerhouses, salut
  • 1 0
 How much does a sports psychologist make?
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: We're not pretty enough..... anymore....... LOL.
  • 1 0
 @PauRexs: Maybe the photogs and journos were all just somewhere else that weekend. Its a pity but I reckon they're all working their arses off as it is.
  • 22 0
 What I like about this sport (apart from the bikes ????) is that it seems to be more about the riders VS the tracks, than the riders VS each others.
Let's hope it remains that way.
  • 6 0
 Great observation. I think it is also really each rider vs themselves, on a larger scale. What a fun sport!
  • 16 1
 I've made this same statement to people when contrasting DH with what I've seen covering motocross.... It's way easier to like the guy next to you in the podium when you have never raced bar to bar against one another and all the drama that can bring.
  • 3 2
 An MX-style start on a WC DH course would be epic though
  • 5 0
 @Adam43: Its called Megavalanche. Cheers
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: On the other side I remember some riders fighting each other at the finish line in a Maxiavalanche... pure War that haha
  • 1 0
 @lalodh: Yep, and then the motocross comment from @davetrumpore totally applies. Been racing the Mega 5 times, absolutely adore this race but as soon as the "Allaaarmma" tune resonates, everyone's out for himself
  • 22 0
 This dude is pure class on and off the bike, great ambassador for the sport.
  • 3 1
 It sure seems that way. When he was just hitting the spotlight a bunch, I was kinda worried about how he'd handle it. At the time, he was bagging on the guys running 29ers in DH, and just talking trash about them. I was worried that he was going to end up going the route of a big trash talker without getting tons of results. It's nice to see how much he's grown in a few seasons, and how well he displays his true character. He truly is an ambassador, and he's just growing in popularity. The dude has tons of charisma.
  • 4 0
 @Leppah: The same for AP as well in all honesty. While the French have definitely dominated in the sport before, they didn't do it with this much style and class. (imo).
  • 2 0
 @Radley-Shreddington: would totally agree with the edit that the current Frenchies do it with tons of openness and personality. really awesome how expressive and in the moment they are. terrific stuff
  • 14 0
 Love the honesty Troy sends in his congrats picture above.
  • 11 0
 Shared a gondola with him this year in Queenstown. He‘s so relaxed and down to earth, overall a great human being
  • 18 1
 Yes, completely the opposite of Rémi Métailler not to name him.
  • 3 1
 @Franzzz: Care to explain since your calling him out?! Let's hear the dirt lol.
  • 7 2
 @millsr4: Does the US Border incident ring a bell ? Metailler has a bad reputation, and it's well deserved since he get a big head ...
  • 1 0
 @millsr4: I remember something about cows being harassed?
  • 3 0
 @Franzzz: lol "not to name him". I dunno, I've shared chairlifts with Remy at Whistler a few times and chatted about biking and he was super chill and friendly. His series he is doing on trail riding now and highlighting trail advocacy and local builders is pretty cool too.
  • 2 0
 @Euskafreez: I though that was just a visa issue?
  • 1 1
 @gramboh: OK, lucky you are. I`ve heard completely the opposite; that was probably just gossip Wink
  • 6 0
 @Franzzz: please refrain to put that kind of comment unless it is first hand experience.
  • 8 0
 Fantastic interview, sent this my kids who play basketball and so much to learn from this Keep going Loic always enjoy your honesty and also the fact that you are so approachable.
  • 5 1
 ‘Oi! Get those bloody downhill bikes off the court!’
  • 8 0
 Super Bruni we love you!!! Well done Loic, now keep it together and take the overall, you can do it.
  • 4 0
 Whatever the French are doing they are doing it extremely well.... Nico's record is definitely within reach of super Bruni. What a legend!!!
  • 6 0
 Have developed an embarrassing man-crush on Bruni in 2019. What a year.
  • 4 0
 Loic got super skills have a high IQ and he is an amazing guy. Thats why he is a legend
  • 4 0
 The interview could be summed in the " I made Amaury and Troy angry" quote, next week will indeed be interesting!
  • 3 1
 "There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times to develop psychic muscles."
  • 1 0
 I don't think any men have ever won 3 World Cup races and World's in the same season, and he has a chance to match Gwin's 4 wins in 2012.
  • 3 0
 Danny Hart did it 2016. But he lost the overall to Gwin by a mere 26 points. Heartbreaking.
  • 2 0
 sam hill 2007.
  • 1 0
 @domminator: if it was gunna be anyone it'd be Sam, thanks for the confirmation.
  • 1 0
 @fredhay: Ok, but if Bruni wins the overall I think its fair to say it's the best men's season ever. I don't think Nico ever won 3 races, the overall, and World's in the same season.
  • 2 2
 I watched the F1 race early in the morning and then Mont Sain Anne.........DH is exciting and f1 drivers are a bunch of pussies. Long live the King Bruni !!!
  • 5 0
 A driver in F1's top junior series was just killed on Saturday in a horrific accident. The next morning the F1 drivers all got in even faster cars and did their race, even the ones who were close friends with him. And an F1 driver just died a couple years ago from a crash. Most of the time the drivers are fine and they get injured less often than DH racers, but there can be huge consequences in both sports

Between Hubert losing his life in the F2 race and all the injuries to the DH riders this weekend, this was a tough weekend for both sports Frown
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: The worst is probably that safety increased so massively in F1 during the last 25 years that everyone's tending to forget motorsport is dangerous. Car are still quicker, it couldn't end well as human body has it's own limits...

DH riders are praised for their courage, but it's a shame motorsports guys aren't considered by the same way!
  • 2 0
 If I put a stick in my arse, would I ride as fast as Bruni?
  • 1 0
 Haha, l think that is dependant on a couple of metrics.
  • 1 0
 Now with Minnar near the retirement and Aaron recovering from his lesions Bruni has the way open for the podium.
  • 2 1
 Super Bruni does it again Big Grin
  • 1 1
 Super Bruni did it again... 3 world champ on his back (forgive me if I am wrong) ... The legendary pope
  • 3 0
 It's 4th
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