Lothar Leder virtually disappeared from the triathlon scene after being involved in a blood value controversy prior to Ironman Germany in June of 2007. He spoke to slowtwitch about the incident and his plan to return to racing.
ST: Lothar, what are you up to currently?
Lothar: Still training and racing. I just opened my 3rd store. It is the first ever world wide ASSOS Cycling Shop in downtown Frankfurt/Germany. Just 500 feet away from Ironman Frankfurt finish line. And I started to coach people since last year.
ST: Can you tell us more about your plans for 2009?
Lothar: I would love to race Roth once again, but the organizer won’t let me enter the race. Nothing I can do. I will race a lot of small races instead to get back in shape in the early year. I started already with running and bike races.
ST: Why won’t the organizer of Roth let you enter the race?
Lothar: I think they are afraid of negative press. I don’t know. I was never suspended and I did a lot of good things for the race in Roth over the past years. It makes me sad, but there is nothing I can do.
ST: I guess that all goes back to the incident in Frankfurt. What ever came of that?
Lothar: As I said before, I was never suspended by the DTU (German Triathlon Federation) and the investigation was halted immediately. Blood work was sent to Lausanne (Switzerland) to the Olympic lab, and nothing was found there either. It all started with a voluntary blood test with Denk (Kurt Denk of Ironman Frankfurt) and had nothing to do with NADA and WADA. It was questionable but I was immediately ripped into pieces by the press. Am currently only banned by Denk and Ironman races because of a lawsuit.
ST: Since you have been confronted with doping allegations, how big do you think doping is in triathlon?
Lothar: I think it is pretty big, bigger than a lot of people in the sport would ever imagine.
ST: What should be done to combat it?
Lothar: The WADA has to come around with an Hgh test, very soon. But what they can do about the genetic doping I don’t know.
ST: Talking about Ironman, or more specifically Ironman Hawaii, you had two 3rd place finishes in Kona plus a few other top tens there. Are you satisfied?
Lothar: No, 3rd place in Hawaii is not good enough. In Germany no one cares about 3rd, you have to win. It is very simple. After my 3rd place in Hawaii I should have better got in contact with Brett Sutton, that was a big mistake I was to lazy. I think one or two years with him. I would have won many more Ironman events than just 9.
ST: How exactly do you think Brett Sutton would have helped you?
Lothar: He is the best coach in the world. It is very, very simple. He makes you hard and makes you deal with the pain in a race. And he is not full of any smart talk. I really like that style of coaching.
ST: Which of your results do you cherish the most and why?
Lothar: Finish my first sprint Triathlon in 1986. And of course Roth 1996, it was the race of my lifetime, you just have one day like this in your career. And I had a triathlon relay with Eddy Merckx, 2 years ago in Israel. I was the swimmer, Eddy on the bike. But I was an idiot, I did not take a picture with him. I think I am the only triathlete in the world who was in a relay with him.
ST: Is there a race you especially enjoy doing?
Lothar: For me Eilat Triathlon in Israel is special and the old Ironman course in Auckland NZ. And IM Nice, I never raced it, I just did the old original Nice race, but racing along the Cote d'Azur is pretty cool.
ST: How did you get started in triathlon?
Lothar: I saw coverage about IM Hawaii, I think that’s how a lot of athletes started it.
ST: What would you change in triathlon if you had a vote or say?
Lothar: No race start before 9:00 am in the morning
ST: I know you like toys. How many bikes do you have floating around and what are they?
Lothar: I have just one bike right now in my garage. It is a Cucuma Carbon frame classic, SRAM Red BB30, and Lightweight wheels (Obermayer edition) total weight including the Time pedals is 5.8 kg in size 58cm.
ST: You have no triathlon bike in your garage currently?
Lothar: In two weeks, it is going to be a Walser again.
ST: What about cars?
Lothar: That’s my hobby. In our group on the bike you better know everything about cars. It is all about horsepower and 0-100km/h speed.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
Lothar: Soccer of course I am German. And WRC (World Rally Car). Oh I forgot F1. I had a bike ride around Christmas with Jensen Button in Monaco. I met him on the IM Monaco racecourse. He is a good triathlete, we talked a lot about carbon in our frames and in his brakes on his car. You better get him interviewed he is planning more in triathlon.
ST: Talk to me about your favorite food.
Lothar: I like most Kaiserschmarn, that’s scrambled pan cake. And of course Erdinger beer my main sponsor sometimes with alcohol.
ST: What music do you listen to?
Lothar: I have been doing personal training for the last 6 months for a popular DJ from Germany (Disco Boyz). Check it out that’s good stuff for driving cars fast.
ST: What was the last book you read?
Lothar: The driver’s manual of my Mitsubishi Evo 8
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Lothar: Still training and racing a few races for fun and helping new people in the sport to get fitter.
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Lothar: It is not just me, it is also Nicole (2nd IM Malaysia) and Mia (11years)
ST: Would you want Mia to turn into a professional triathlete some day?
Lothar: It is her decision, but she is only 11 years now. It is still too early. We will see.