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Ironman World Champion Under Anti-Doping Investigation

A war of words erupts, what gear do you really need for triathlon, and how to push through plateaus


Good morning everyone,

It was a good weekend here at Tempo HQ. The bike was in the shop after a shifting issue cropped up and there was a bit of stress with what the ensuing bill might entail. But in a plot twist, it was actually super reasonable!

Here’s to the small multisport wins.

In today’s edition:

  • 🔎 Ironman World Champion admits he’s under anti-doping investigation.

  • 🤿 The gear you ACTUALLY need for triathlon.

  • 💪 And, how to push through a performance plateau.

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


War of Words Erupts as Ironman World Champion Reveals He’s Under Investigation


What happened: Over the weekend, Ironman World Champion Sam Laidlow published an explosive Instagram post (since deleted) that acknowledged he is currently under investigation by the International Testing Agency for an alleged anti-doping violation

As reported by Slowtwitch, in the post, Laidlow states:

  • Today I am saddened...I have poured my heart and soul into my performances and...my recent world title. I know who I am and I am willing to expose all my past medical exams and blood passport.

Further in his post, Laidlow accuses Rodolphe Von Berg Sr. — the father of professional triathlete, Rudy Von Berg — of being the source of the ITA investigation.

Laidlow then states:

  • Names in beneath have now become my enemy and I will never let go of the rain you have poured onto my career for no reason.”

The names he is referring to include Von Berg Sr and Jr, Danish professional triathlete Daniel Baekkegard, and French professional triathletes Marjolaine Pierré and Clement Mignon.

  • In the comment section of Laidlow’s post, Mignon confirmed that the ITA had interviewed him for over ninety minutes as a part of their investigation.

  • Mignon also referred to a comment Laidlow’s girlfriend made about taking hormones, which Laidlow responded by saying it was a bad joke.

Von Berg’s response: In response to Laidlow, Von Berg Sr published his own post (not deleted) which suggests that an email he sent confidentially to another party, “was forwarded by mistake to a third person who shared it with you.”

  • There are currently no details available as to what is spoken of in Von Berg Sr’s email.

Big picture: Earlier this year, the sport was rocked by the news that Colin Chartier, an Ironman winner and one of the more promising talents in the sport, had received an anti-doping violation and a subsequent four-year ban from the sport.

  • It was an incredibly high-profile event that has since cast a shadow over the professional triathlon field.

  • Unfortunately, there is a history of doping within the sport with high-profile athletes like Ironman World Champion Nina Kraft (GER), Olympic medalist Brigitte McMahon (SUI), and Michael Weiss (AUT).

Tempo’s take: Until Laidlow’s post, there was no significant public knowledge of his anti-doping investigation, and now the entire triathlon community is aware of it. At 2, he’s still a young athlete and it can’t be easy navigating the attention and responsibilities of being a world champion.

But the reality is that his posts are a serious unforced error. It’s unclear why the people in his camp thought this was a good idea, as there were no significant public accusations that warranted him to bring attention to this.

  • The post-Chartier world has changed things, and any accusations cannot be brushed aside. It also doesn’t help that there is allegedly an active anti-doping investigation against him. These organizations do not have unlimited resources, so for them to take steps to investigate suggests there may be more to it than an inappropriate email.

  • Von Berg Sr. is probably unrealistic in expecting an email with potentially explosive allegations to remain private, so lessons have hopefully been learned on both sides.

One thing is for certain — we haven’t heard the last of this saga.

What are your thoughts on this situation?

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🤿 The gear you really need: The gear you need for a triathlon can be overwhelming. From paddles to power meters, it can feel like an unstoppable tsunami of equipment. Thankfully, this video gives a great primer on the gear you actually need for triathlon. [NVDM Coaching]

🍝 Elite diet: The best athletes in the world are rigorous in their training and their diet. In this video former 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence gives us the full picture of what she eats during a typical day of training. The key: lots of carbs. [Passion Project]

📰 Big news: A Kona breakdown and the inside scoop from the Sam Laidlow anti-doping investigation. This episode of ProTriNews is not to be missed! [ProTriNews]

💪 Pushing through a plateau: When starting training, the gains come quick and fast, but as the eventual plateau hits, the improvements become few and far between. But why does this happen? Turns out it might be in our cells. But can we counteract it? [Outside]

🤔 Opportunity costs: Every day, we face the opportunity costs of our decisions. And with triathlon thrown into the equation, calculating all these decisions can feel like quantum mechanics. This thread cuts through the noise with great suggestions on how to get the most out of your triathlon decisions. And it turns out, you might not need to do too much core work. [Sebastian Sitko]


Couple of Reels today, the first - Amy Collins DIY’d her own sports bra to match her custom tri kit 👏👏👏

The second is an insane finish at Challenge Vieux Boucau. Just proves you should never give up!


Incredible Ironwoman: Imagine completing 76 km of swimming, 3,600 km of biking, and finishing off with an 844 km run. Well, apparently, it’s a thing, and Shanda Hill of Canada just became the first person in history to finish three of them. [CBC News]

Ironman Israel canceled: After the terrorist attacks in Israel and the ensuing war with Hamas, Ironman has decided to cancel Ironman Israel due to security concerns. [Teller Report]

Election results: USA Triathlon has announced the results of its run-off election for athlete representative — Chelsea Burns, a former national team triathlete, will be the athlete representative on the Athletes Advisory Council. [USA Triathlon]

New Italian race: In 2024, The Challenge Family of races will be touching down in the Riviera Romagnola with the first edition of the middle-distance Challenge Cesenatico on May 11 and 12. [Challenge Family]


Super League Triathlon Championship Final - Neom, Saudi Arabia

Leo Bergere (FRA) took the surprise win over Hayden Wilde (NZ) on the final run leg to take the win and the championship series.

Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) won the race, but lost the overall title Super League Title to Kate Waugh (GBR)

  • In the team competition, the Santara Tech Eagles were victorious over the defending champions from Bahrain. The RTP Global Sharks were third, while the RTS Warriors finished at the bottom of the heap.

World Triathlon World Cup Tongyeong, Korea

Gwen Jorgensen (USA) overcame a tough T2 to outrun the field in Tongyeong. Meanwhile, Tim Hellwig (GER) continued his end-of-season tear to take the win from an atypical bike breakaway.

Ironman Portugal

Even the formidable Patrick Lange (GER) couldn’t stop the impressive run of Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) as he broke the tape in Cascais. Marjolaine Pierre (FRA) was unstoppable, taking the win in her debut Ironman.

Challenge Vieux Bacau, France

We hope y’all saw that crazy sprint finish where Mathis Margirier (FRA) squeaked past a fallen Mike Noodt (GER).

Caroline Pohle (GER) denied Immogen Simmonds (SUI) a third victory in as many weeks.


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