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"I was having a chat with a mate last night, and I said it was the first off season that I had in the past three or four years that I am looking forward to get back into training. I’m excited by the whole idea about what we are d...

Photo: Sirotti




09.11.2014 @ 15:02 Posted by Joseph Doherty

For a while, many people feared that Lachlan Morton would leave professional cycling after admitting he had no fun while cycling for Garmin-Sharp. 


“I’m looking elsewhere – I want to have some fun racing next year,” Morton said, when asked if he hoped to remain with his Garmin-Sharp team by CyclingTips in October.


“I’m looking for a team that will have my brother and I. It’s my dream to race with him next year. I’d love to make that happen.”


Thankfully, Jelly Belly in the USA found a spot for both of the Morton brothers and they will get to ride together next year.


“I basically went to my agent and said that I want to ride with Gus. Unless a team will facilitate that, I am not sure I want to race,” he told CyclingTips Thursday. “We then found a team in Jelly Belly in the States and signed a deal last week. It’s super exciting, actually. I’m really looking forward to it.”


Morton may have had to step down two levels but he makes it plain that he doesn’t see it as a backwards step. He says he needed to leave the constraints of the WorldTour to have more fun on his bike.


“For me that is everything,” he said. “I was having a chat with a mate last night, and I said it was the first off season that I had in the past three or four years that I am looking forward to get back into training. I’m excited by the whole idea about what we are doing.”

“We are going to have some freedom to do some Thereabouts rides and basically to make more of a life about it, to have a more sustainable environment.”


“For me that was hugely important as I didn’t see myself doing long term what I was doing in Europe.”


“I think it is good for Gus as well. Both our girlfriends will be moving over with us. It will just be nice to have that sort of environment around us where there is always something different going on, but it is always based around bike riding and doing what we love doing.”


Morton’s talent has always been blatantly obvious ever since he finished seventh on GC at the 2010 Tour of Utah aged 18 and still on junior gearing. He was riding with Garmin’s feeder team Holowesko Partners and in 2012 he became a stagiaire with the senior team.


Morton became a pro in 2013 and won a stage in the Tour of Utah that year in addition to leading the race and finishing 14th on GC. He was fifth on GC at the USA Pro Challenge and was best young rider in both events.


His brother Gus rode with Drapac from 2008 to 2010 but he soon became disillusioned with the sport and retired but came back to cycling during the offseason last year.


While Gus fell back in love with the sport, it seemed to be the polar opposite for Lachlan, who found it hard to keep himself motivated while riding for Garmin this year.


“Being able to race at a good level and have a few really big races each year that we can focus on is an ideal scenario,” he explained. “It was kind of a long shot, I knew it was a long shot, but sometimes you have just go for it. When you pull it off it is pretty sweet.”


The effect on his morale is immediate. “I am super-motivated now to repay the team for the faith they have put in us,” he says. “I am really looking forward to meeting all the guys and hopefully get a good team together.”


“I really see it as the best move I have made in a while. It is a move I feel really confident in and really good about.”


Both brothers are currently in Australia for the offseason and are riding mountain bikes before they make their return to the US.


Lachlan knows it will be hard for Gus to adjust back to the pace of the pro ranks but he can do it.


“Realistically, it will take him three months or so,” says Morton. “But if you look at the calendar, the racing doesn’t really start until March and I think he will be at a decent level by then. It might take him some time to get race fitness but by the middle of next year he should be good.”


Thereabouts Rides (riding thousands of kilometres to a destination) are what got Gus back into the sport and the Morton boys are planning a few long bike trips for their offseason and plenty more for during the 2015 season.


“Hopefully we would be able to bring on a few different sponsors for each ride and then just go and do one. Whether that is just photographic content or video content depends on basically how much money we can get together to do it. The plan is basically to build a lot of content next year, and to have a consistent blog that people can follow.”


“We have also been toying with the idea of riding to the Jelly Belly training camp in San Diego in February. We will most likely be in Boulder, so that would be a cool ride. I would imagine it would be pretty close to a thousand miles.”


Lachlan’s 2013 shows the raw talent he has when the gradient kicks up and he is confident he can refind his talent while riding with Jelly Belly.


“Yeah, yeah. I will be disappointed if I don’t,” he says. “I am pretty confident that going back to basics, training hard but having a good time while doing it is the key. For me that has always been the way.”


“We head up to Port Macquarie today, but we start training next week. That was where we always trained when we were younger. I think going back there and getting in a good base in the next couple of months will be important, then just sort of focussing on the simple things that sometimes you get lost in the crazy bike thing.”


“They get lost with the power meter and few things like that which don’t really work for me. Instead, from the performance side, we looked at what I was doing when I was riding well. It was basically just riding a lot. I am pretty sure that I will be able to get back to that level.”


Morton knows 2015 will be a change to his last few seasons but that it will hopefully be a change for the better. His first goal is the Tour of California.


“For the first half of the year, that will be the big goal for me,” he says. I think it will be a great goal for Gus too. If he can get himself into the shape where he can make that team, I think that would be amazing.”


“He would be super happy with that, and that would be my goal for him in the first half of the year. It is hard for us to gauge where he will be at, but I think that is something that is a realistic target.”


“After that, the big goals for me are going to be Colorado and Utah. I definitely know how to prepare for them and I have ridden well there in the past. In my mind it is already where my goals lie for the year.”


He also thinks he can benefit from being on a smaller squad as opposed to being on a WorldTour team.


“I think it is going to be fun to be on a team where everyone is not necessarily going to be looking at you,” he explains. “Being able to go in there and maybe stir things up with a different groups of guys, all motivated riders who want to be doing it. I think it will be really cool. I am pretty confident.”


And will Lachlan ever make a return to cycling’s elite level?


“I would never rule it out,” he answers. “But I think it would have to be pretty ideal scenario for me to go back. Then again, my mindset could change. You could have a really successful year and be itching to get back in the biggest races again.”


“But I certainly don’t think I would compromise what I am doing here with my family and my close friends, to lock myself in an apartment in Europe just so I can race in the WorldTour. I wouldn’t do that again.”


“At this point in time I am not going back to US racing with the goal of going WorldTour again in 2016. I made it clear to the team, that I am coming back on my own terms because I want to.”


But for 2015, all Lachlan Morton is thinking about is enjoying his time on the bike with his brother and rediscovering his love with bike riding and bike racing.


“A lot of people might look at it and say, ‘ah, you ended up on Jelly Belly, what happened last year?’ For me, though, it is something I wanted to do and I am excited about it.”


“I also think that doing this for a year means I will definitely learn a lot about how I need to prepare for races and what I need to do to perform at that level.”


“It will teach me a lot about the environment I need to create.”






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