He grew disillusioned with competitive racing the last time around racing in the World Tour, with the grind, pain and off-bike obligations getting in the way of enjoying riding the bike.
Moving back to a lower level of racing and expectation has seemingly suited Morton well and it will be interesting to see how the young Aussie approaches things this time around.
A succession of very good results this season have seen his name crop up in discussions or riders who could make that step up to the World Tour and it is little surprise to see Morton find a berth with the African Dimension Data team.
Morton won two stages and the overall of the Tour of Utah, and was also able to secure the overall classification of the Tour of Gila. He has established a reputation as a top climber and with victories in shorter stage races in the USA, it is likely that he can also be competitive in similar types of events on the World Tour.
In the press release from the team Morton expressed what it felt to be back in the World Tour.
“I really wanted to join Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka to realise my dream of being highly competitive at the top level of cycling,” said Morton.
“This team has excited me since its inception and to be able to be a part of it is incredible.
“For me the bike is the most incredible tool and I can’t imagine a life without one. I’m so happy to be able to support Qhubeka and help those who need it most realise the incredible potential of the bicycle.”
Ben King also joins the squad and will bolster the team’s American contingent. Over the last three years the 27-year-old has been riding for Cannondale-Drapac, with stage wins at the Amgen Tour of California and the Criterium International being the big wins of note on his palmares.
King is primarily renowned as a reliable domestique and can be relied upon for strong performances as a helper in the big races.
Also joining Dimension Data will be Scott Thwaites. The 26-year-old British rider has gained a reputation in the professional peloton over the last four years with Bora-Argon18 as a hard man of the peloton who can also do a job in the sprints.
Thwaites had a handy spring classics campaign in 2016 that saw him finish just outside the top 20 of the most prestigious cobbled races.
Team Principal Doug Ryder was optimistic about the potential of Morton, King and Thwaites and what they would bring to the squad.
“Ben King had an incredible La Vuelta showing great depth and consistency,” said Ryder. “We see Ben taking a leadership role in mentoring and leading our climber group of riders based out of our training centre in Lucca.
“Key to that group is Lachlan Morton who we believe can shine in the high mountains in stage races across the World and give the team extra performance opportunities.
“In the Classics this season we were always looking for an additional strong rider to give us that extra kick and we are really pleased Scott Thwaites will join our African team. The Classics are a beautiful part of cycling’s history that we would like to excel in and Scott will bolster our lineup and chances.