Kathrin Mueller

Ruzafa, Mueller win XTERRA Germany, ITU Worlds

Ruben Ruzafa and Kathrin Mueller shared the top spot on the podium for the fourth time this season and the second time in as many weeks at the XTERRA Germany Championship / ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau, Germany on Saturday.

The race was the 9th of 11 races in the XTERRA European Tour with just XTERRA England (Aug 24) and XTERRA Denmark (Aug 31) remaining. The victory is Ruzafa’s seventh straight on the Euro Tour this year (eighth straight overall since winning Worlds last year). He had already solidified his 2014 XTERRA European Tour Championship last week at XTERRA Czech as the best six scores out of 11 count.

Saturday’s win is Mueller’s fifth in six races and she leads the XTERRA European Tour in points with 590, however, defending and 2x Euro Tour Champ Helena Erbenova still has a chance should she win back-to-back races at XTERRA England and XTERRA Denmark.

XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was in Zittau, serving double duty as the head of XTERRA and also the captain for Team USA. Here he tells us about the day…

XTERRA Germany has always been a first-class event. Benno Schwager and his men have grown this event from a fun thing for five buddies many years ago to this year, a world championship.

No expense was spared and the compound, expo area, food vendors, performance stage and huge TV screen made for an exciting experience for everyone.

If you have been following the European Tour you know it has threatened to rain every race. Finally the rain Gods got their way and it poured on and off all day. As with any ITU event, each class had its own race.

Team USA was well represented with 61 participants – the largest contingent outside of Germany. I had the pleasure of being the team manager (or mangler) and am proud to say we did a great job with Hannah Rae Finchamp bringing home gold in the 18-19 division (and she was the 2d woman overall).

Kathy Hudson got us a bronze in 50-54, John Royson a bronze in 60-64, Dave Rakita silver and Alan Moore bronze in 65-69; and the ever faithful G.L. Brown a bronze in 70-74. USA Elite champ Josiah Middaugh brought home silver in the elites and Emma Garrard a 5th in elite women.

Glad to say the podium was full of international XTERRA racers from 31 countries. Gosh, the ITU is getting almost as good as Maui!

Back to the racing. The field was absolutely stacked with Ruben Ruzafa, Conrad Stoltz, Braden Currie, Josiah, Leo Chacon, Michi Weiss, Francois Carloni, Asa Shaw, Kris Coddins, Yeray Luxem and on and on. The women’s field was no less impressive with Kathrin Mueller, Helena Erbenova, Flora Duffy, Erin Densham, Jacqui Slack, Carina Wasle, Renata Bucher, Chantell Widney, Emma Garrard and Suzie Snyder among the better known names.

Officials ruled the swim no wetsuit despite an air temp of mid 50’s (14 C) at best. Temp was 20.3 and the ITU folks held firm. This hurt Josiah as he can stay in contention on the swim with a wetsuit, but in cold water and without one – he was instantly back 1:15 on Ruzafa and 2 minutes from Currie and nearly 2 ½ minutes on Leo Chacon. German road stars Chris Otto and Faris Al-Sultan were in the lead swim pack with Chacon, Brice Daubord, Roger Serrano and Ben Allen. Organizers have made a scaffolding bridge for bikes to cross over the access path to the beach so that citizens coming to enjoy the park don’t need to stop for the race. Poor Ben Allen crashed there two years ago and this year hit something hard and had his rear tire ripped off the wheel and tangle itself around the hub and chain ring. Day over for the Aussie hope.

Ruzafa is simply unstoppable. He pedaled through the field and by the time the men hit the top of the highest hill had a solid lead of about 40 seconds on Chacon with Carloni in 3rd and a furious pack of Conrad, Braden Currie, Michi Weiss and Josiah another 30 seconds back. What was not so great was this pack was hitting the middle of the women’s field and having to pass them; often in difficult spots. These four men came around the feed corner on either side of South Africa’s Susan Sloan, went past her and flew down the fastest downhill still juking left and right trying to find an edge on one another.

Erin Densham and Flora Duffy are super-fast in the water and pulled together to get an edge on German favorite and Euro Tour leader Mueller. They carried about 1:30 coming out of T1 but by the time they got to the top of the hill, Mueller had 30 seconds on Flora, another 30 to Erin, and a minute over Garrard, Widney and Slack.

It was an amazing demonstration of power and skill from Ruben and Kathrin. They did it in horrible conditions – I mentioned the air temp. It had started raining hard during the age group race which went off at 9:30 – then the skies parted and the sun came out. Locals wagged their finger saying “just wait” and soon enough the gray returned with more showers. The trails were smushed from the 400 riders who had gone out early in the day and the elites were simply covered head to toe to the extent it was barely possible to see their uniforms!! Little white dots of eyes in a sea of dripping mud.

“I’ve been riding over 20 years and this was the toughest I ever had” said John Royson. Josiah seconded those thoughts. When asked what his strength was he replied “nothing went really wrong. I got through it without many problems.”

Ruben posted the fastest bike time but Josiah’s was second. Francois Carloni can sure ride a bike and came off in 3rd but our always happy Frenchman has suffered from a broken bone in his foot and was run down by Currie, Weiss, Leo Chacon and Kris Coddens to end up with a great 7th.

Michi Weiss is back and looking very strong. “I wanted to get back to XTERRA and see how fast these guys are” said the Ironman star. “The competition is super strong and I had better bring a better race to Maui if I want to get on the podium”.

Josiah chased hard after Ruben and put in a fabulous 4th fastest time on the run and took back a 1 ½ minutes but it was not enough. Ruzafa still remains The Man and even with that target on his back, he is dominating 2014. The same is true for Kathrin. Once she got the lead, nobody came close. Czech wonder woman Helena Erbenova put in the fastest bike but was, like Middaugh, hampered by the no wetsuit decision. Helena finished 3rd just four minutes out of first and sadly lost over five-minutes on the swim. Flora had a good race but the conditions certainly did not suit her. “I’m really happy with 2nd because it was so, so hard out there” she smiled. “I won’t have to deal with this at Maui”. Emma Garrard out-sprinted Slack in the last K or so for 5th, Canadian Chantell Widney ran her way into 4th.

And so the day ended with lots of Champagne showers to match Mother Nature’s rain showers. A truly great day for XTERRA and the ITU. Next up England and things are looking very solid for the next to last event of the season.

PHOTOS / COMPLETE RESULTS / ITU COVERAGE

Top 10 Men

Pl First Name Last Name Country Time Swim T1 Bike T2 Run
1 Ruben Ruzafa ESP 02:34:33 00:21:14 00:00:42 01:37:11 00:01:15 00:34:11
2 Josiah Middaugh USA 02:35:28 00:22:30 00:00:41 01:38:41 00:01:15 00:32:21
3 Braden Currie NZL 02:37:10 00:20:29 00:00:40 01:41:42 00:01:13 00:33:06
4 Michael Weiss AUT 02:38:28 00:20:44 00:00:57 01:43:21 00:01:24 00:32:02
5 Leonardo Chacon CRC 02:39:00 00:19:08 00:00:41 01:44:24 00:01:17 00:33:30
6 Kris Coddens BEL 02:39:28 00:22:37 00:01:02 01:42:33 00:01:20 00:31:56
7 Francois Carloni FRA 02:39:57 00:21:21 00:00:57 01:40:37 00:01:15 00:35:47
8 Conrad Stoltz RSA 02:40:42 00:20:08 00:00:41 01:43:15 00:01:15 00:35:23
9 Brice Daubord FRA 02:42:30 00:20:14 00:00:40 01:49:07 00:01:14 00:31:15
10 Pavel Andreev RUS 02:42:48 00:21:53 00:00:45 01:45:18 00:01:08 00:33:44

Top 10 Women

Pos First Name Last Name Country Time Swim T1 Bike T2 Run
1 Katrin Müller GER 02:58:35 00:22:01 00:00:41 01:57:52 00:01:11 00:36:50
2 Flora Duffy BER 03:00:53 00:20:25 00:00:42 02:02:02 00:01:15 00:36:29
3 Helena Erbenova CZE 03:02:32 00:25:53 00:01:00 01:57:09 00:01:28 00:37:02
4 Chantell Widney CAN 03:05:00 00:23:17 00:00:53 02:02:39 00:01:18 00:36:53
5 Emma Garrard USA 03:05:36 00:23:13 00:01:01 02:02:06 00:01:36 00:37:40
6 Jacqueline Slack GBR 03:05:46 00:22:47 00:00:54 02:01:47 00:01:28 00:38:50
7 Renata Bucher SUI 03:07:24 00:24:24 00:00:50 01:58:47 00:01:21 00:42:02
8 Suzanne Snyder USA 03:10:02 00:22:46 00:00:55 02:06:04 00:01:25 00:38:52
9 Brigitta Poór HUN 03:11:11 00:23:43 00:01:08 02:05:46 00:01:34 00:39:00
10 Maud Golsteyn NED 03:13:59 00:25:09 00:00:46 02:09:23 00:01:20 00:37:21

Tentative as of 8.17.14

2014 XTERRA European Tour Point Standings

Elite Men

Pl Name ESP POR GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER TOT
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 100 100 x 100 100 x 100 100 100 600
2 Braden Currie, NZL x x x 90 90 100 90 75 82 527
3 Francois Carloni, FRA x 90 100 x 31 x 75 x 58 354
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL x 82 x 69 75 69 x x x 295
5 Asa Shaw, GBR x 69 x 75 69 x 69 x x 282
6 Jan Pyott, SUI 75 x x 58 x 63 53 x x 249
7 Will Kelsay, USA 63 63 49 34 x x x 31 x 240
8 Kris Coddens, BEL x x x 82 82 x x x 63 227
9 Ben Allen, AUS x x x x 63 82 x 82 x 227
10 Albert Soley, ESP 90 x 82 49 x x x x x 221

Elite Women

Pl Name ESP POR GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER TOT
1 Kathrin Mueller, GER 90 x 100 100 100 x 82 100 100 590
2 Helena Erbenova, CZE 100 x 90 63 x 100 100 82 82 554
3 Carina Wasle, AUT x x x 69 90 90 90 75 41 455
4 Renata Bucher, SUI x x x 75 82 82 75 69 58 441
5 Jacqui Slack, GBR 75 82 x x 58 x x 90 63 368
6 Brigitta Poor, HUH x x 82 x x 75 69 58 49 333
7 Sandra Koblmueller, AUT x 90 x 58 69 x 63 x x 280
8 Maud Golsteyn, NED 82 x x 82 x x x 63 45 272
9 Chantell Widney, CAN x x x 90 75 x x 75 240
10 Louise Fox, GBR x x 75 x x 69 49 45 x 238

Next up: XTERRA England at Vachery Estate on August 24 (registration still open at www.xterraengland.com, then the Euro Tour finale at XTERRA Denmark in Tisvilde on August 31.

2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The XTERRA Germany Championship was the 30th of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.

Date Race Location / Pro Winners
23-Feb XTERRA South Africa Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
8-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels
15-Mar XTERRA Philippines Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Guam Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham
30-Mar XTERRA Great Ocean Road
Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack
5-Apr XTERRA Saipan Championship Ben Allen / Carina Wasle
12-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros
13-Apr XTERRA West Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
26-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
3-May XTERRA Malaysia Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack
17-May XTERRA Southeast Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
24-May XTERRA Mauritius Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate
24-May XTERRA Spain Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova
1-Jun XTERRA Portugal Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger
8-Jun XTERRA Brazil Championship Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo
15-Jun XTERRA East Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
21-Jun XTERRA Greece Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller
28-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
29-Jun XTERRA Norway Dan Hugo / Cecilie Overbye
5-Jul XTERRA Ontario Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady
6-Jul XTERRA France Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
6-Jul XTERRA Victoria Brent McMahon / Melanie McQuaid
6-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley
13-Jul XTERRA Sweden Braden Currie / Helena Erbenova
19-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship Josiah Middaugh / Chantell Widney
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helene Erbenova
2-Aug XTERRA Mexico Championship Irving Perez / Fabiola Corona
9-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
16-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
17-Aug XTERRA Canmore Alberta, Canada
24-Aug XTERRA England Cranleigh, Surrey
31-Aug XTERRA Denmark Tisvilde
31-Aug XTERRA Quebec Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada
7-Sep XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
20-Sep XTERRA USA Championship Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
26-Oct XTERRA World Championship Maui, Hawaii