Two-Time Champ Lange Out at IRONMAN
Two-time defending champion Patrick Lange has dropped out of the VEGA IRONMAN World Championship event in Kailua-Kona.
IRONMAN confirmed Lange’s departure from the race via a Facebook post just before 9:20 a.m. Saturday.
The specific reason for Lange’s withdrawal remains unknown, though IRONMAN indicated it was “related to injury.” The live IRONMAN blog said it likely has something to do with a fever Lange first developed on Friday night.
The reigning champ finished the 2.4-mile swim in 47:40 and made it more than 30 miles into the bike course before calling it quits.
Lange, one of the favorites to come out of a stacked field this year, set the course record in 2018 by becoming the first man to ever break the 8-hour mark in Kailua-Kona.
He set out this year to become the fourth man in history to win the IRONMAN World Championship three times. He would have been the first German to accomplish that feat. Jan Frodeno, a fellow German and world champion in both 2015 and 2016, has the opportunity to achieve the same.
Frodeno, who missed last year’s event with a stress fracture in his hip, currently led the race as of 9:38 a.m. more than 60 miles into the bike course.