Wild Fantasies Part 5: Stick with what you know

The World Cup crosses the pond to Canada

Our smooth, suave and sophisticated fantasy league specialist and all round legend Tim Wild takes time out from his awesome, action packed life to assess his team ahead of Mont-Sainte-Anne this weekend. Did I say he has great hair?

Photos: Seb Schieck

I don’t know if you’ve been reading these closely over the season (thanks if you have!) but I’ve noticed that on a couple of occasions I’ve been referred to as an armchair enthusiast and a World Cup fanatic in the introductions (I haven’t written these intros until now – see if you can notice the difference). It’s not like they aren’t correct statements, I bloody love a good armchair, I just figured I should try and shake the armchair tag and go to a race. After all, I’ve got riders to motivate and check up on.

So off I went to Lenzerheide to watch the team in action. I’ll spare you all of the details, but lets just say it was a pretty shambolic trip from my end; I flew to the least convenient airport; I took the wrong currency; I didn’t know the speed limit and got two speeding fines and I didn’t realise I’d need to remortgage the house to buy dinner.

Anyway, to the race and the fantasy league… and hey! my team – Rachel Atherton, Aaron Gwin, Danny Hart, Bryn Dickerson and Emyr Davies, AKA Ron Swanson’s Bacon – had a blinder and put me in to 99th place overall. I’m super stoked about that and fingers crossed I can stay in the top 100 until the end of the season.

Tactically there is no way I’m going to change the structure of my team as I’d have to swap out one of the ‘big 3’ of Rachel, Aaron or Danny to make way for someone else, and barring any injuries, they are staying after their performances at Lenzerheide (just to remind you, both Atherton and Hart won, and Gwin came second… you don’t really get much better than that).

MSA should be a great race; Loic Bruni is back and looking at the results from last year things were mixed up a bit with Josh Bryceland taking the win – his only top 3 finish of the season – and Gwin out of the top 5 for only the second time of the season. Look back to 2014 and you’ll see that Sam Hill won…

If you are hoping for a wildcard to do well and score you those all-important points then this is the time to take a risk. I expect Bruni will be put back into a lot of teams on his return and of course, you’d expect him to come back hungry and with a point to prove. I’m putting £5 on him to ‘win’ timed training and throw a marker down. Any takers?

The all-important review from Lenzerheide:

Rachel Atherton gets a 9/10 for Lenzerheide, dropping a point for not getting the win in qualifying and maximum points. We all know Rachel has been dominant but she looked beatable at Lenzerheide in my opinion and she was just 0.7 seconds away from ending her winning streak. Ultimately she still won and gets my backing for MSA where she won last year by 3.4 seconds. Rachel has pretty much got the overall title sewn up, but I don’t believe she can race for points and I’m sure she’ll still be all out for the win and keeps her place in the team. Hopefully there’ll be more celebrations this time around.

If you are looking to restructure your team and want a good value wildcard for MSA look to Canada’s Miranda Miller. At £150k she got 5th at MSA in 2015 and 3rd at Leogang this year, which isn’t too shabby.

Aaron Gwin gets 8/10. A crash in qualifying and, apparently, a very slight error in the last corner cost him a few points at this round. When you look at last year’s results he had a mid season blip finishing off the podium at MSA and Lenzerheide. He has won twice at MSA in the past and his 2nd at Lenzerheide this year shows that a poor result last year doesn’t mean that much. His place in the team is pretty much assured these days.

Still, Bruni is back, some bloke from Redcar is doing well, Ratboy will fancy his chances again and you can never rule out Minnaar, so the competition is going to be as tough as ever. Aaron – I trust our ‘motivational’ session after Lenzerheide did the trick and you are ready to win again? If you do win, I’m taking some of the credit BTW…

Danny Freaking Hart can’t get anything other than 10/10 for that performance. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t realise how much I wanted Danny to win a World Cup race until he crossed the line. Being in the finish arena to witness the celebrations first hand showed how much it meant to him too. I did have my doubts about whether he’d be able to convert the 1st place in qualifying into a race win, but he seemed to manage the pressure with no problems.

He’s done pretty well at MSA in the past with a 3rd place in 2014. I’m sure he’ll do well this time around and there is no way I’m going to replace him if he is fit. Good work Danny!

Bryn Dickerson gets a reasonable 6/10. He finished in 70th, which reading his insightful blog was a disappointing result for him. He is off to MSA and I’m going to keep him in my team as he has been pretty consistent getting into the big show. Bryn – don’t stress it, make it count!

Emyr Davies gets a 3/10 for showing up. Again, regular readers will know that I’ve kicked Emyr out of the team before only for him to get points. When I saw him at the finish area after qualifying covered in dirt with a ripped number I knew he’d give me a tricky decision to make. However, I’m sticking by my lowest points gets the boot system and he’s going to be replaced by Lois Hamilton once I can confirm he is in Canada. Emyr, you know you are going to get points again now you aren’t out of the team so look at it as a blessing…

So that’s it, good luck to everyone in Canada, more high fives and drinks for the winners and stern looks for everyone else!

Big shout out this time to Aaron and Rachel for taking time to do the pictures and being all round good sports (that really is Aaron Gwin in the photo).

A note for racers: Don’t take any of this personally, it’s dog-eat-dog in the world of fantasy sports, I love you all really.

If I’ve talked you up and you do badly I haven’t cursed you, but if you think I have please complain to the editor.

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