The Belgian, Kris “Cool Cat” Coddens VS the Kiwi, Sam “Bam Bam” Osborne
Heading into the XTERRA European Tour finale at XTERRA Denmark next Sunday (Sept 4) those two sit in second and third-place in the elite standings, separated by just 13 points.
The leader, three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa, will not make the trip.
“No, my focus now is on Maui,” Ruzafa explained. “This year I have done two parts in the season, Reunion to XTERRA France, then two-weeks rest, and now I have Maui and ITU Worlds on my mind. This year we have tried to make little changes to my swimming, so I can be faster in the water, and my running so I can be better on the climbs and the downhills. The secret, however, is arriving fresh at each race. With seven weeks focus on the preparation for Maui, I hope to arrive healthy and with energy, that is the key.”
Ruzafa collected 442 points on the XTERRA European Tour this season, 82 more than Coddens and 99 more than Osborne.
“What that means is if Kris finishes 1st or 2nd he beats Ruben. If Sam finishes 1st he also beats Ruben, but if Kris is 2nd he beats Sam,” said XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas, who notably went out of his way to prod those two with these facts.
The tight race sets up an exciting finale in Mons Klint. In head-to-head racing this year Coddens got the better of Osborne at XTERRA Belgium (He won, Sam was 2nd) and XTERRA Switzerland (He was 2nd, Sam was 7th) but Osborne finished ahead of Coddens at the last two races, placing 3rd at XTERRA Sweden (Kris was 4th) and 2nd at XTERRA Germany (Kris was 12th).
Ah, but it’s not just about Bam Bam and Cool Cat! The “Kid” Mauricio Mendez from Mexico will be in Denmark as well, eager to claim his third win on the European Tour this season and mess-up the whole deal. If Mendez wins, and Coddens doesn’t finish second, the title goes to Ruzafa.
Looking back, Mendez was faster than Osborne on his way to winning at XTERRA Italy (Sam was 2nd), and he got the better of both Sam and Kris when he won in Sweden, but then Osborne bounced back in Germany last weekend with a runner-up showing to Ruzafa (Mauricio was 5th).
And let’s not forget about Roger Serrano, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ, who won the first two races of the season at XTERRA Malta and XTERRA Greece (where he beat Ruzafa). He’s back from injuries and looking to re-establish his spot on top.
There’s drama in the women’s race as well, with Brigitta Poor looking to become the first elite racer from Hungary to win an XTERRA European Tour title. She’s got the lead with 429 points, and behind her is the “Swiss Miss” Renata Bucher with 401 points. Poor can lock-down the crown with a fourth-place finish or better. If Renata wins it, and Poor is fifth-or-worse, Bucher will walk away with her fifth XTERRA European Tour title.