Though Patrick Lange's ace-up-his-sleeve in rocketing to his Kona crown in 2017 was his closing marathon, he put himself within striking position of the lead after a front pack ride aboard his custom painted Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD.
With a handful of fast closing runners, Lange will once again need a front pack swim and front pack ride to be in striking position to defend his title and hold off the likes of Javier Gomez, Patrick Nilsson, David McNamee, Matt Hanson and more.
Canyon's Social Media Specialist Jay Prasuhn pulled Lange's bike aside at the Ironman Expo, affording us a closer look.
Lange has opted not to change his winning formula from 2017. He will once again ride a newly custom painted Canyon Speedmax SLX 9.0 LTD.
A very clean design with a fitting label for the Ironman World Champion.
World Champion stripes painted on the fork.
Canyon's H26 CF Basebar with Ergon grips for holding steady in the potentially blustery trade winds.
No need to change a winning formula and Lange will keep his Swisside Hadron Ultimate 800+ wheels. The only change we see from last year is Lange choosing to use Schwalbe One tires instead of the Continental Grand Prix TTs used last year.
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components, CeramicSpeed OSPS with a 13 upper and 19 lower, CeramicSpeed BB and chain and SRM power meter. Lange stores hydration using an Elite Crono CX bottle on the downtube.
#BETHERECORDBREAKER appears to be a hashtag for a casual clothing line offered by Lange and his team.
Lange and the Canyon team spent some time earlier in the week shooting photos out on the course. From this shot, it appears he still rides a Cobb Fifty Five saddle.
It is tough to tell in this photo if Lange's Fusion race kit will once again have internal stitching which has allowed him to store handfuls of sponges or even a full sized water bottle inside his kit.
A fitting parting shot for this very sleek and meticulously engineered time-trial machine. And here you can see the unique custom 3D printed extensions that perfectly fit his position.
Want to follow the action from Kona tomorrow to see how Lange and others fare? Stay tuned here.