Australian Lachlan Morton may not have won a road race this year, but that did not stop him from becoming one of the biggest names in the sport. And it comes as no surprise that he has renewed for 2021 with EF Pro Cycling, a team that is tailor-fit to a rider that spends his time on and off-road.
While much of the world was in lockdown this spring as the coronavirus crisis raged around the world and brought the racing calendar to a halt, Morton made the headlines with new challenges that included back-to-back Everest Challenge attempts not to mention his Kokopelli Trail record. Such events may not resonate like a Tour de France victory on the Alpe d’Huez, but in a time of COVID-19 they gave the cycling community great reason to cheer and placed the overdue spotlight on one of the sport’s true iconoclasts. “When some doors are shut you can always push in a different direction,” Morton said on the team website regarding his alternative challenges. “We are lucky to race, but with a bit of creativity there are always ways to challenge yourself.”
And it is his ability to straddle both the WorldTour and the adventure side of the sport that makes him a perfect fit with the American team, as they were one of the first major road teams to embrace new off-road challenges.
“Having the opportunity to race WorldTour events while chasing new and exciting adventures in one team is a dream for me, a dream I’ve only been able to realize with EF,” Morton added. “We have an amazing group of riders and staff that honestly feel like family. The partners we have provide us with the best equipment and support I could hope for.”
While the 28-year-old has made a real name for himself with his off-road adventures, he still has ambitions on the road. And his recent Giro d’Italia participation, where he finished in the top 15 on the stage to Asti, only increased his appetite. “I’ve learned so much,” he said of his recent Giro. It’s really lit a fire inside me to come back and be competitive at these events. It feels like a new sport to me again.”
Mostly though, Morton simply wants to continue finding new challenges, little matter if they are on the roads of the WorldTour or a desert trail. “I want to continue to do as much as possible. I have plenty of ideas for alternative events. I want to do as much as possible in that department. But I also have a fresh motivation to set some new goals for WorldTour events and really chase those, too,” he said. “Ultimately I believe that is the purpose of professional sport, to inspire participation.”