Racing the Tour de France peloton - alone

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A rider who loves crushing huge distances. On his own. (Photo: Oliver Grenaa)
A rider who loves crushing huge distances. On his own. (Photo: Oliver Grenaa)
  • Lachlan Morton is known for his alternative approach to pro cycling
  • The Australian's Alt Tour is a staggering solo attempt, at riding nearly twice the Tour de France route, in three and a half weeks
  • He will be riding solo, without the benefit of mechanics and teammates

Some of the most influential and popular pro riders, don’t win the big events.

Jens Voight was a crowd favourite, for his audacious attacks and ability to suffer alone. Peter Sagan is inarguably the biggest name in road cycling, but he’ll probably never win a Tour de France.

And there is Australia’s Lachlan Morton. The 29-year old pro rider loves cycling. He rides outrageous events, that very few other pros would consider. Gravel races. The Cape Epic mountain bike marathon event.

Morton even starred in the acclaimed 2014 documentary, Thereabouts, with his brother Gus. It chronicled their cycling careers, in an epic 2500km ride to nowhere, through rural Australia.

Tour de France
Lachlan Morton aims to spends 238 hours on his bike. Alone. Riding in parallel to the Tour de France (Photo: Grubers)

Paying respect to the greatest race - for a good cause

Lachlan Morton is a rider who does things very differently. And one who has the blessing of his team (EF education-Nippo), to embark on solo rides that don’t carry UCI points or prize money.

Morton has transitioned into making a career of his Alternative Calendar rides, going to different global locations and riding challenging segments.

His latest project is extraordinary in its scope and ambition. Morton will ride an approximate replica of the original 1903 Tour de France route. Alone. No team car. No teammates to tow him along in their slipstream. No bike mechanic to service his components, at night.

The idea is to ride a Tour de France route, including all its vehicle transfers, which nearly doubles the distance.

Tour de France
No teammates to shield him. And a bike loaded with touring gear. Morton will not be riding light (Photo: Oliver Grenaa)

A scary collection of stats

Unpacking the numbers of Morton’s Alt Tour ride, you realise the cycling courage he has. Tour de France competitors will race 3383km. He will ride 5110km.

Total elevation for the peloton calculates to 42 200m for this year’s Tour de France. Morton will be climbing 65 500m, the equivalent of seven Mount Everest ascents.

It is an astounding challenge. Morton hopes to ride for 23 days, without a recovery break. He hopes to beat the Tour de France peloton to Paris.

The Alt Tour is not an expression of ego. Morton’s pro team will donate 500 bicycles to World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit that aims to alleviate poverty by enabling greater human-powered bike mobility. Another 500 bikes will be sponsored by apparel brand, Rapha.

Tour de France
Extreme rides are what Morton loves. And this Alt Tour, has a worthy goal (Photo: Grubers)

 

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