Pegasus signing Lapthorne wants to honour his late sister with a big victory
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Pegasus signing Lapthorne wants to honour his late sister with a big victory

by Shane Stokes at 9:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Former Australian champion coming to terms with family tragedy

Darren LapthorneAs he prepares for his first season with the new Australian Pro Continental team Pegasus Sports, former national champion Darren Lapthorne has an important motivation: winning a big race in memory of his late sister.

His family is still trying to come to terms with the tragic death of his sibling Britt, who was killed two years ago while backpacking in Croatia.

Lapthorne considered retiring from the sport, but ultimately kept going thanks to the help and encouragement of others.

''I would love to win a major race, especially for the people who have supported me - my family and friends. That's the dream,'' he told Rupert Guinness of the Sydney Morning Herald. ''I also ride because I would like to compete in a Grand Tour such as the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France. To get a result in a stage, that's my ultimate dream. I would love to do that in memory of my sister and for those who supported me.''

Lapthorne is a talented 27 year old who has raced with the Rapha-Condor-Sharp team for the past two years. He won the Australian national road race championships in 2007, the same year he finished second overall in the Tour de Hokkaido, then won the Tour de Beauce in Canada in 2009.

While he is undoubtedly a big asset to the British team, Rapha-Condor-Sharp manager John Herety told VeloNation on Tuesday that he was delighted the rider got the opportunity.

“I’m so pleased that Darren has secured a place with Pegasus,” he said. “Without doubt, he was one of the classiest riders I have had the pleasure of working with. The chance to ride with what is in effect an Aussie national team must a dream come true for him.”

Lapthorne will join up with countryman Robbie McEwen, a twelve-time winner of stages in the Tour de France, and one of the most experienced riders in the peloton. Other confirmed names include Christian Knees (Milram), Daryl Impey (RadioShack), Serguei Klimov (Team Katusha), Ben Day (Pegasus Racing) and the Garmin Transitions trio of Svein Tuft, Robbie Hunter and Trent Lowe.

The signing is a just reward for the rider, who had to fight hard not to quit the sport in the first months after her passing. “During races and the quiet times when the peloton is cruising along, there were thoughts [of her] going through my head,'' he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “And a number of times I slowed to step off the bike and throw the bike away, or pull out of races … It was always quite daunting to start a race knowing you are going to go through such physical stress and then go through the mental stress of living with what's happened.”

At this point, he has can use that tragedy to motivate himself, believing that she would approve of what he is doing.

“All I can do now is race in my sister's memory. The investigation into what happened continues,” he said. “That is always in the back of my mind. I will continue to think about that, but I know doing what I am doing now is what my sister would want me to do as well. That's important to know.”

The new team is currently negotiating with the organisers of the Santos Tour Down Under in relation to its possible participation. The race takes place in January and would give Lapthorne the chance to make his Pegasus debut on home soil.


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