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the French achieve a historic hat-trick at the downhill world championships

The Blues triumph at home. For the return of the MTB Worlds in France, eighteen years later, the tricolors ensured the show in Les Gets (Haute-Savoie), and the medals. In downhill, Saturday August 27, the French indeed achieved an unprecedented hat-trick, by seizing all the steps of the podium, Loïc Bruni taking place on the highest to obtain his fifth title of world champion (after 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019). He is accompanied by Amaury Pierron (2e) and Loris Vergier, while Myriam Nicole took third place in the women’s race.

“It’s beautiful, I will never forget this moment. It’s magic after a rocky season. », Loïc Bruni told La Chaîne L’Equipe in a finish area packed with fans. Because before winning at Les Gets, « SuperBruni » had to take his troubles patiently and prepare for these Worlds at home from his sofa, he who suffered a broken collarbone keeping him away from his bike for several weeks. .

 » An inspiration « 

Supersonic on the course, the Niçois almost lost everything from the start because of a big scare on the second corner. A small mistake quickly corrected to go and win a new world title, a few months after winning the general classification of the World Cup for the second time (after 2019), followed, there too, by two tricolors. “I really admire him. He had a difficult season, he is an inspiration to me. I am proud to be part of this French hat-trick”reacted Amaury Pierron, already bronze medalist in 2019.

Read also: Cycling – Mountain Bike Worlds: in Les Gets, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is aiming for a fourth rainbow jersey in cross-country

At only 28 years old, Loïc Bruni is still asserting himself a little more as the king of discipline, he who had however only signed the eighth fastest time in qualifying, keeping the best for the race. However, he had a lot to do with competition from other French people. Starting with Amaury Pierron precisely, well ahead of the World Cup this season, and who had finished second in qualifying.

For the party to be complete, the last « folding seat » on the podium had to go to another tricolor, a mission that Loris Vergier accomplished brilliantly. A medal surely having a particular taste for him, who was also hampered by a physical glitch in the shoulder. « It’s a crazy thing, the atmosphere is nonsense, he specifies. I was injured and I didn’t know if I could ride, I couldn’t ask for more than this medal. » In 2004, during the last world championships in Les Gets, Fabien Barel had already won, but was the only Frenchman on the podium. This year, the Blues had decided to do even better.

Read also: Cycling: Loana Lecomte European champion ahead of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, doubled French

Medal but disappointment for Myriam Nicole

If the men’s race seemed undecided on paper, the women’s race had a great favorite: Myriam Nicole. Double world champion (2019 and 2021), she had affirmed her status during the qualifications, concluded with a comfortable lead of almost seven seconds over her first pursuer, the German Nina Hoffmann.

Pushed by the public, Myriam Nicole left at the same pace on Saturday. But a short distance from the finish, she suddenly stopped pedaling, suggesting that she was the victim of a mechanical problem. It was in fact nothing, as she confided to the microphone of La Chaîne L’Equipe: “I think I over-insured. I wanted to stop pedaling earlier to focus on a jump, it was a mistake on my part”, explained the Montpellier, finally third. She will therefore leave her rainbow tunic to the Austrian Valentin Höll, winner ahead of Nina Hoffmann.

Read also Mountain biking: Frenchman Loïc Bruni wins the downhill World Cup

With this bronze medal, Myriam Nicole still continues to grow an XXL list also made up of a title of European champion (2010) and six French champions (2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021 ). But the 32-year-old cyclist misses another opportunity to climb on the top step of a podium, she who had already dropped the general classification of the World Cup in September 2021 during a fall in the last meters of the race. last stage of the season, in Snowshoe (United States).

As for the other tricolors, Mathilde Bernard won 11e place, just in front of Léona Pierrini, 12e. Melanie Chappaz is 15eshe who lived « an incredible thing » riding in front of his audience. On the contrary, Myriam Nicole admitted to having had a little trouble meeting expectations. “It was a challenge to perform in front of the public. But when it was screaming loud, I tended to hit the brakes more than anything else. »

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