Aussie Focus

Lachlan Morton's 'Alt Tour': riding the Tour route solo

Australian Lachlan Morton (EF Education-Nippo) is pursuing his own solo Tour de France this year, creating his own three-week odyssey around France with the aim of beating the peloton to Paris, with videos to be hosted of his journey on the SBS Cycling Central website.

This year, EF Education-NIPPO, a UCI WorldTeam who in 2020 made headlines and brought new audiences to the sport with the pro peloton’s first duck inspired Rapha + Palace kit, will have one extra rider in France: Lachlan Morton. But instead of lining up with the peloton, Lachlan has an end goal all of his own, to beat the peloton to Paris and inspire fundraising for World Bicycle Relief in the first-ever Alt Tour.

Morton will ride 5,510 kilometres unsupported, including transfers in addition to the route that the main peloton will ride. The Port Macquarie rider will ride in aid of non-profit organisation, World Bicycle Relief. Rapha and EF Education-Nippo have launched the fundraising campaign with a pledge that represents 1,000 bikes, mobilising communities who have only ever walked.

In a challenge inspired by the inaugural Tour de France of 1903, Morton will set off after the peloton to complete the 21 stages, plus each and every transfer, from Brittany to Paris unsupported. With 5,510 kilometres to cover and more than 65,000 metres of climbing, Morton will endure an extra 2,400 kilometres and 15,000 metres of climbing than the riders in the main race, amounting to an estimated 238 hours of ride time in 23 days.

"I’m excited to explore the origins of cycling and see for myself just how different the experience is,' said Morton. "It’s a challenge that in many ways combines the two elements of cycling I have pursued the most, exploration and competition."

It's far from the first epic ride Morton has attempted, he's been the mainstay of the Rapha 'Alternative Calendar' since launching the concept back in 2019. His challenge rides in Thereabouts have become touchstones of the endurance riding scene and give Morton a solid grounding for what's to come over the next 23 days.

"Without intention, I have essentially spent my whole life preparing for it," said Morton. "I know it’s going to be the most physically demanding ride I’ve undertaken but I anticipate the challenges of completing the route self-supported to be equally difficult.

"In doing the ride I hope to celebrate the history of the Tour de France while broadening the ideas of what a bike tour of France can be. And in the process, we’re going to be able to help get more people on bikes and make their day-to-day travels better. That’s the best part about the whole thing.”

The Australian's ride will support World Bicycle Relief, an organisation which delivers specially designed, locally assembled, rugged bicycles for people in need. Those inspired by Morton’s challenge and who would like to support him, can donate to World Bicycle Relief who will use donations to provide even more young people with the bikes they need to access an education. 

SBS Cycling Central's website will feature regular updates from Morton's ride and promote the videos on social media, providing an inside look at the Morton's epic journey.

Donate to e. You can dot-watch the epic ride, following  against the peloton here. Fans are encouraged to share their messages of support on social media using the hashtag #TheAltTour.

Morton's ride will be brought all together into 'A Rapha Gone Racing' film, following the Australian’s journey with the release of the movie in August 2021.

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4 min read
Published 26 June 2021 at 7:50pm
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS