Lachlan Morton Interview: Big name to watch
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lachlan Morton Interview: Big name to watch

by Ed Hood at 8:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Talented young rider set for jump up to WorldTour level with Garmin-Sharp

Lachlan MortonThe twenty year old Lachlan Morton has just become yet another rider from the Antipodes to join the World Tour – moving up from Garmin’s (soon to be defunct) Chipotle development team to join the Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal and the rest of the ‘A team’ at Garmin.

The signing has long been expected, with the Australian’s talent being recognised several years ago by general manager Jonathan Vaughters. Back in 2010 Morton finished seventh on GC in the Tour of Utah. Not a bad result by anyone's standard, but for an eighteen year-old on restricted gears it was outstanding.

However Vaughters saw his ability even earlier, with the rider first spotted and recruited to Holowesko Partners by him at the US junior Nationals in 2009.

The following season ended up being a year to remember for the man from Port Macquarie. The youngster gave notice of his form that year in Canada's Tour de l'Abitibi in the weeks prior to Utah.

Abitibi is probably the premier junior stage race in the world and a round of the UCI World Cup with past winners including Tyler Farrar, Taylor Phinney, Laurent Jalabert and Alex Steida.

Morton won the time trial stage, a road stage and the overall GC in the Canadian race.

Over the next two seasons he produced some excellent results for a rider of his age. In 2011 he took seventh on the Genting Highlands stage at Langkawi and sixth overall. This season, he took second place on a stage and eighth place on GC in the Giro Della Valle d’Aosta as well as sixth in the Tour de Guadeloupe.

The latter result was achieved whilst riding as stagiaire for Garmin – Sharp, a stint that led to him getting a pro contract with the team.

Morton recently took time to speak to VeloNation as the biggest season of his career thus far approaches.

VeloNation: The jump from Continental to Pro Tour, Lachlan - how big is it?

Lachlan Morton: I've yet to find out properly. At races like Colorado and Britain there were some Pro Tour teams but not a full field at that level. I definitely liked the level of control in those races, however.

As far as being on the actual team goes, it’s just bigger and more organised.

Lachlan MortonVN: How was Colorado?

LM: I only found out I was racing a couple of weeks before when I was headed to Guadeloupe so I was under-prepared as far as the altitude aspect goes, but that was ok.

I was playing a team role which was a lot of fun. It was great to be racing alongside such big names and throwing it down every day. Rooming with Christian Vandevelde was an excellent learning experience also.

VN: And how was the Tour of Britain?

LM: The Tour of Britain was fun; initially the plan was to ride for Tyler Farrar in the sprints. Unfortunately he had a bad crash the first day and was out.

Then we were left with a team of two stagiaires, two neo pros and a 23 year-old. But it felt like everyone stepped up and we had some good results.

I was ready for a rest before that race and definitely more than ready afterwards.

VN: Guadeloupe - you were sixth. It sounds exotic?

LM: Yeah, Guadeloupe was amazing…probably one of the most fun bike races I have ridden. There were massive crowds, hot weather; we were staying on the beach, there was really hard racing and angry local riders.

I think the island has something like 300km total coast line but it was a 10 day race!

I also got to go swimming in the ocean during a hurricane, which was a lot of fun.

VN: What was your highlight of 2012?

LM: Probably the second place in the queen stage of Aosta; only with hindsight, however. At the time I was disappointed but now when I look at my preparation and how the year had been up until that point, I’m happy.

VN: Will you be back in Australia for the winter?

LM: Yeah I came back to Sydney straight from Britain and had three weeks off the bike there. I love Sydney when you are not riding the bike; when you are it’s a nightmare.

When I started training I headed up the coast to Lennox Head, near Byron Bay. It’s my new favourite place to train - It has everything I like about Australia, the beach, good food and coffee, laid back people and quiet roads. But I’ve just flown back to Arizona for training camp.

VN: Will we see you in the Aussie Nationals?

LM: Yes, I'll race the Nationals – the time trial just for experience and the road race to try for a result with the team. We have a young but very strong team for that race.

VN: The Tour Down Under - it gets harder every year, what are your expectations?

LM: It’s funny because I’ve never really followed the race at all and I’ve never been to Adelaide; but that’s all anyone wants to know, 'are you doing Down Under?' It’s becoming a big thing in Australia - not just as a bike race.

But yeah, I’m racing in it - and the harder it is, the better it is for Aussies, and the worse it is for the Euro guys; so I’m really looking forward to racing my first World Tour race in Australia.

VN: Langkawi - you've done well there before.

LM: Yeah I’d really like to have a good performance there and start the year off on a good note. I like the tropical races.

VN: What's your favourite kind of race?

LM: The local bunch ride at 6am on Fridays in Port Macquarie – it’s an hour where everyone goes as hard as they can and has a coffee after. It’s fun.

VN: What are your goals for 2012?

LM: It’s hard to know what realistic goals are at this point so I’m taking the races as they come. I’ve got a nice program where I can focus and train for each race separately.

Lachlan MortonI’d love to do well in Malaysia, again and give Colorado a proper shot.

VN: Where will you be based for 2013 - and why?

LM: At the moment I’m still not sure. The way my program is I’m not sure I’ll be spending a huge amount of time in Europe.

I think I’ll rent a month at a time in places that are known for good training and close to the racing I’ll be doing. I seem to work the best training and preparing by myself so I don’t mind not being with a group of other pros.

VN: As a young rider I imagine you have to be careful with your programme - not over-race…

LM: Yeah, I’m a rider that likes to train and prepare to race not just go from race to race until you stumble onto some form.

My program seems perfect for that approach – with good races to gain experience and plenty of time to prepare and recover. It’s motivating to look at some on the races I’ll be doing.

VN: Lance - are you tired of friends talking about it?

LM: There was definitely a period there when I was - only with people who aren’t educated in cycling, though. It’s a shame that this story was considered by many as a reflection of cycling today, which it isn’t.

I agree that this had to happen in order to build modern day cycling on a clean foundation. For me as a young rider I feel very lucky to be coming into cycling at the time I am.

It’s a decision I won’t have to make. The mistakes have been made in the past and cycling has learned from that.

I’m very grateful that I’m involved with the era in cycling where the big races can be won clean.

That being said, I don’t think it’s up to our generation to judge the generation before us because we have never been put into the terrible situations they were. It’s up to our generation to build up cycling's credibility.

VN: Do you think that the UCI is doing enough on the doping issue?

LM: Well I started the whereabouts system today and got a knock on the door from the testers at 6:00 am after flying half way around the world - so right now, I’m going to say ‘yes’ to that one!

The fight against doping is the responsibility of the UCI, the teams – and, most importantly, the riders.


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