After a photo finish at the 2018 Nationals Fantasy CX game, it once again came down to the wire for our 2018 Worlds Fantasy CX game p/b Easton Cycling. Thankfully this time, there were three great prizes up for grabs, making sure our top three ended up with hardware.

Almost 400 teams got into the fun this round. And even though we made it harder by offering up the entire peloton of riders including alternates, it’s clear that the international field and tough course made it harder to predict the top six than with our domestic championships.

Let’s dig into the results.

Upset? Don’t Blame the Women

In the women’s race, Sanne Cant was the most popular pick to finish first (54% of teams) and second (35%). As the defending champ and a podium finisher for the last three years straight heading into 2018 Worlds, Cant was a smart, safe bet, and with strong late running, proved most Fantasy CX GMs to be right.

Compton, with a strong season and Nationals behind her, was the second most popular pick for both first (31%) and second (28%).

Nearly one in four teams (24%) correctly picked both Cant and Compton correctly for first and second. Thus it should be no surprise that there were better fantasy scores in the women’s race than the men’s.

Sanne Cant and Katie Compton had a memorable battle for the win at Valkenburg. Elite Women. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Sanne Cant and Katie Compton had a memorable battle for the win at Valkenburg. Elite Women. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Gary Kralik’s CXSenior team had the best performance after the Elite Women’s race, finishing with a top score of 19 points (out of a maximum 25). Kralik’s pick of Lucinda Brand for third was what gave him the holeshot, as he was just one of two players to pick Brand for third. That pick set him up quite well heading into Sunday.

Third through fifth crushed everyone’s hopes for a perfect Fantasy CX score. Only one team (Jason Rosmanitz’s Rosmo) picked the Luxembourger correctly in fourth, while Elisabeth Brandau of Germany surprised every single player—not a single player even had her on their team—let alone correctly in fifth.

Lucinda Brand and Christine Majerus battled for the third podium spot. Elite Women. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Lucinda Brand and Christine Majerus battled for the third podium spot. Elite Women. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Kaitie Keough’s sixth place, in her eighth Worlds, was less of a surprise for the largely North American-based participants. Nearly 13% of players picked her correctly to finish sixth. She earned points for quite a number of teams.

Past Medalists Disappoint

Past Worlds medalist Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Marianne Vos, Eva Lechner, Helen Wyman, Ellen Noble and Katerina Nash were all top vote-getters (in order of popularity) who did not score, but as past Worlds medalists, there was good reason to pick them for a good result.

Ferrand Prevot took the win, with Cant in second and Vos in third. Photo taken from UCI footage

Ferrand Prevot and Vos were popular picks for Fantasy CX, and together with Cant, all have won World titles in the past.

More than half the teams had Ferrand Prevot, Vos and Lecher on rosters.

Wout’s Wipeout Win

With over 85% of teams predictably picking Mathieu van der Poel for the win, Wout van Aert’s title defense pretty much wiped out the scoring chances for most teams.

Wout van Aert joins a select Cyclocross World Champion threepeat club of four men and one women. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Wout van Aert joins a select Cyclocross World Champion threepeat club. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

If Van Aert’s win ruined your scoring chances, Michael Vanthourenhout’s second place caught everyone off-guard. Even though 55% of teams had him on the roster, absolutely zero teams picked him to finish in the top two.

Van der Poel’s surprise third made teams’ high-scoring chances difficult, as only four teams picked the wunderkind to finish on the last step of the podium.

Mathieu van der Poel finishes up his disappointing third-place ride. Elite Men. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Mathieu van der Poel finishes up his disappointing third-place ride. Elite Men. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Toon Aerts in fourth, and Lars van der Haar in fifth, were relatively popular picks, with 95 and 71 correct picks, respectively, but it was the sixth-place finisher, Gioele Bertolini who stumped absolutely everyone. Nobody had the Italian on their roster.

Sweeck’s Flat Tires Deflate Teams

Laurens Sweeck, who suffered five flat tires with his Bieles-like bad luck, was the third-most popular team member, finding his way onto 85% of teams, and most often in third. His eighth place left a lot of points on the table.

Laurens Sweeck got off to a good start on Sunday at the 2018 Worlds. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Laurens Sweeck got off to a good start on Sunday at the 2018 Worlds. 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Valkenburg-Limburg, The Netherlands. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Corne van Kessel, Stephen Hyde, David van der Poel and even alternate Kevin Pauwels were all popular roster selections.

Perhaps in a case of mistaken identity, two teams even picked the older Van der Poel brother David to win it all and steal the rainbow jersey from his brother.

Best of Sunday

Derrick St John’s Dericolus, Jeff Sanford’s Materiaalpost and John Switow’s TVB Racing teams were the best of Sunday, each finishing with 14 points of a possible 25 in men’s race scoring. All three picked first, fourth and fifth correctly.

And Our Winners Are…

It’s another photo finish…for second. Joe Smotherman’s Statistically Unlikely to Win was appropriately named, but beat the odds by finishing in a tie with Kit Skarstrom’s KillEgo team, both ending with 26 points.

Based on our tiebreaker rules, Smotherman gets second with his picks of Laurens Sweeck and Helen Wyman, two Easton sponsored athletes that Skarstrom didn’t have. Smotherman wins the EC90 SLX handlebar and stem, while the Skartstrom will be riding the EA70 handlebar and stem.

Finally, there was one team that beat everyone with 27 points, and has Easton sending its lightweight Easton EC90 SL crankset to Canada!

Easton's new CINCH Shifting Rings offer 2x performance options.

Easton’s new CINCH Shifting Rings offer 2x performance options.

Marc-Antoine Vachon and his From the North team correctly picked first, second and sixth in the women and first and fifth in the men. That was good enough for the fantasy rainbow stripes and to lay claim to Easton’s top prize.

Congrats to our three winners, and thanks to everyone for playing!