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Cairns World Cup 2016: Loic Bruni Breaks his duck

Bruni, Atherton and Walker take the wins

Loic Bruni stormed to his first ever World Cup win in Cairns this morning with Troy Brosnan in second and Mick Hannah in third. The World Champion set down a time of 3:23.698 to take the win by half a second.

Photos: Seb Schieck

His main title contender Aaron Gwin finished fourth with Aussie Josh Button sneaking on to the podium with his best ever World Cup finish.

About time for Loic Bruni, the World Champion’s first World Cup victory. Flanked either side by the two Australian riders – Brosnan and a resurgent Mick Hannah.

Brits dominated the other two races with Rachel Atherton and Matt Walker both taking the wins and the overall lead in the standings.

It is safe to say that pretty much everyone was pleased to see Bruni take his first win.

Cairns WOrld Cup 2016 – Junior Men’s

With Lourdes winner Finn Iles out with an injury picked up in qualifying, we were pretty much guaranteed to see a new leader at the top of the junior standings. It was Matt Walker that admirably stepped up to the plate and grabbed his first World Cup victory in only his second race.

What a day for young Matt Walker. This is his first season on the World Cup circuit and he showed great maturity to take the win nine and a half thousand miles from home.

He beat some tough competition from Aussie locals Remy Morton and Harry Bush (yes, really) to take the win by .6 of a second.

Second place for Remy Morton on home soil.

It’s worth mentioning that Matt Walker is still only a first year junior, we could very probably be looking at a star of the future here.

Full results here

 

Cairn’s World Cup 2016 – Women’s

The women’s field was always going to have a tough time overcoming Rachel Atherton’s huge advantage from qualifying but she once again proved herself to be in a league of her own as she cruised to a seven second win.

Tracey Hannah ‘did the business’ on her ‘local’ track, but she was just not strong enough for the seemingly unbeatable Rachel Atherton (main article image at top of page).

All eyes were on local girl Tracey Hannah to perform in front of her home crowd and, as she crossed the line nearly six seconds up on Tahnee Seagrave, there was hope of a fairy-tale finish.

Thirteen second down, but fourth place and some solid points for Tahnee Seagrave.

Manon Carpenter was unable to challenge Hannah’s time but the dream was short lived as Rachel, who looked visibly faster on the whole course, sprinted over the line to take a comfortable win.

Ten seconds back, but consistency from Manon Carpenter… she broke the four minute barrier too.

Rachel now has a significant lead of 145 points in the overall standings over Tahnee Seagrave. Will anyone be able to even get close to her this season?

Full results here

All smiles for Tracey Hannah.
Women's podium: (L–R) Seagrave (4th) Hannah (2nd), Atherton (1st), Carpenter (3rd) and Charre (5th).

Cairns World Cup 2016 – Men’s

Josh Button was the first rider to set a significant time. The Aussie qualified in 15th and endured a long stay in the hot seat after laying down a 3.27.4. The track was running fast and this would have been enough to win qualifying yesterday.

Josh Button’s best ever World Cup result. Fifth place for the Aussie rider and a serious bit of editing for the TV crew in the post race interview!

Button saw off dozens of protected riders thanks to his strong lower half of the course before fourth placed qualifier, Loic Bruni, finally toppled him.

Button’s time was threatened by the likes of Fearon, Hart and Smith but it was the World Champion set the race into action when he put four seconds in to the time of Button.

Not a great day for for the Brit men results wise, but a great day for Greg Williamson. Just off the podium in sixth, and the highest British rider on the day. Nice one.

Gwin was next down the hill but was never really able to challenge Bruni’s time. This only left the two Aussies, and crowd favourites, Mick Hannah and Troy Brosnan to round off the race.

Mick Hannah... what can you say. Stoked to finish in third.
This will be a much needed confidence boost for Hannah. He's been off the rider recently, so is this kickstart he needed?

Sick Mik was on the pedals for the whole course but for all his effort, and a final sprint that turned the Earth on its axis, he was not able to compete with the Frenchman. He got within a second and slotted into provisional second place.

Loic Bruni has been in the position on quite a few occasion. Sitting in first, waiting to see if the win will be his. In Cairns it was.

Brosnan was the last man out of the gate and he and Bruni were neck and neck until the very final sprint but the diminutive Aussie did not have the power to compete with Brosnan and ended up losing more than half a second to finish second.

What might have been. Troy Brosnan qualified in first and was up on three out of four of the splits... except for the most important one.
Brosnan is a force to be reckoned with. He'll be pushing for the overall this year.

Bruni has been so close to snatching a win in the past and now he finally has the monkey off his back – even the partisan Aussie crowd were delighted for the young Frenchman.

Relief… it has been a long time coming. Will this result now open the floodgates for the Frenchman?
Is this what made the difference. As the course started to dry out Bruni and his team decided to make the switch to a semi-slick tyre for the rear of his bike. Good speed on the final flat pedally straight would be crucial.
Mick Hannah and fans. Such a good feeling for the Australian to be in the top three on home soil.

Aaron Gwin is still leading the overall standings but it looks like we are set up for one hell of a title race this year.

Full results here

2016
Happy...
... relieved...
... ecstatic. Aaron Gwin may be in the lead in the overall, but if Bruni's performances here and in Lourdes are anything to go by then it is definitely all still to play for. Fort William here we come.

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