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Bruni defends downhill title at MTB Worlds

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The final podium, l to r: Martin Maes (Belgium), Loic Bruni (France), Danny Hart (Great Britain)

The final podium, l to r: Martin Maes (Belgium), Loic Bruni (France), Danny Hart (Great Britain) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Three-time world champion Greg Minnaar (South Africa) came back from injury

Three-time world champion Greg Minnaar (South Africa) came back from injury (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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World Cup winner Amaury Pierron (France)

World Cup winner Amaury Pierron (France) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Danny Hart (Great Britain)

Danny Hart (Great Britain) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Loris Vergier (France)

Loris Vergier (France) (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Loic Bruni (France) retained the rainbow jersey for another year

Loic Bruni (France) retained the rainbow jersey for another year (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Aaron Gwin (USA) has not regained his form

Aaron Gwin (USA) has not regained his form (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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HuH! Cavemen in T-Rex pants...

HuH! Cavemen in T-Rex pants... (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Enduro star Martin Maes (Belgium) has taken the downhill world by surprise

Enduro star Martin Maes (Belgium) has taken the downhill world by surprise (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Greg Minnaar atop the Hot Seat, for a long time

Greg Minnaar atop the Hot Seat, for a long time (Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Martin Maes and Loic Bruni engage in a dual

Martin Maes and Loic Bruni engage in a dual (Image credit: Rob Jones)

Loïc Bruni of France repeated as the elite men's downhill world champion at the 2018 Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Sunday.

The lead time for the men's field went down slowly until three-time world champion Greg Minnaar of South Africa became the first to go under three minutes.

Minnaar started early, since he missed much of the season to injury, but once he was in the Mercedes Benz X-Class Hot Seat, he stayed there through 27 riders, until Belgium's Martin Maes displaced him by 2.4 seconds.

Maes was beginning to look untouchable, as rider after rider failed to match his time. It wasn't until defending champion Bruni came down with five riders to go that Maes was bumped from the lead, and even then only by a slim 0.213 seconds.

The top two spots on the podium were set, with Danny Hart (Great Britain) taking the bronze.

"I had a really good weekend and everything clicked," said Bruni, who has now won three downhill world titles.

"I didn't make any mistakes today and the times were super-close, so I guess that's what made the difference.

"It was dusty and slippery, but still wet in the woods, so it was hard to know where to push, because there were a lot of places you could crash. I'm so happy because it's been a year with a lot of bad results and a few good ones. I couldn't have finished the season in a better way."

Great Britain's Kade Edwards won the junior title.

Full results to follow

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