Loic Bruni seems to handle the pressures of World Champs better than most with an incredible five World titles to his name after his wild run in Les Gets. With his fifth title, Loic Bruni moves up to the position of holding the second most World Champ wins trailing Nicolas Vouilloz by two. Previously Loic had tied with Greg Minnaar on four but now stands by himself after a win on home soil.
Alongside the standard pressure of World Champs Loic Bruni mastered the added weight of racing in France to become only the fourth Elite Man to win on home soil. Interestingly he is not the first French rider as Fabien Barel managed the same feat in Les Gets back in 2004.
World Champs always brings exciting results and Les Gets was no different with Vali Höll putting down a perfect run to take her first Elite World Champs title. Vali has had some hard luck at past events with her breaking bones at her home event in Leogang two years ago. But in France she took home the gold medal and the rainbow jersey and became the first Austrian to win an Elite downhill title, and this was also Vali's first elite medal at a World Champs. Alongside Vali, Nina Hoffmann also managed to get her first medal for Germany with silver.
The Elite Men's racing proved to be one of the wildest races to watch with the updated course in Les Gets offering some of the best racing we have seen this year. Despite many riders trying to ruin the French fans' dreams, we got not only a French winner but complete medal domination. With Loic Bruni taking gold, Amaury Pierron silver and Loris Vergier bronze the three French riders were able to achieve something that has not been done since the very first World Championships back in 1990. Only at the 1990 World Championships in Durango, Colorado did we see three Male riders from the same country take all three medal positions on home soil. Just like last weekend, it was all home riders with USA racers Greg Herbold, Mike Kloser and Paul Thomasberg securing the medals. If it's taken 32 years to repeat this feat it's fair to say this is a truly dominant show of speed from the French riders.
While World Champs was its usual mess of figuring out where you can actually watch the racing it was interesting to see Warner Bros. Discovery test out its future coverage with a broadcast for the XCC, Downhill and XC races appearing on its streaming platforms. The broadcast was headed up by Ric McLaughlin who has been at the front of the EWS coverage for years and used to be one of the presenters for the World Cups with Red Bull. Featuring alongside Ric were the likes of Reece Wilson and Oli Beckinsale offering pro-rider insights into the racing, and given the worries we may see commentators with no links to mountain biking this is good to see. We weren't able to catch the broadcast so we can't comment on its quality. Ric's Red Bull course previews with pro riders were always great before races, so let's hope these make a return next year.
A World Champs in France with the potential for a French victory was always going to mean huge crowds but seeing the sea of people lining the course in Les Gets was incredible to watch. We were definitely not left disappointed as it became clear we were in for a French win in the Elite Men's race as the spectator chaos began after Loic Bruni's wild run and only got more hectic as Loris Vergier and Amaury Pierron made their way into the medal positions. With two back-to-back World Cup rounds in France next year we can't wait for more.