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"To be here at a training camp and getting ready to do a WorldTour season, in a lot of ways it feels like the first time."

Photo: Kei Tsuji

DIMENSION DATA

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LACHLAN MORTON

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04.12.2016 @ 18:45 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Despite having raced in the WorldTour before with Garmin-Sharp, Dimension Data’s new signing Lachlan Morton says his new approach to racing makes him feel like 2017 will be his first year in the top tier.

 

"That has been the goal for the last year, to get back to the top level. It was pretty much 12 months ago that I found that drive and decided what I wanted to do," Morton told Cyclingnews from the Dimension Data training camp in Cape Town, South Africa. "To realise that and be here at a training camp and getting ready to do a WorldTour season, in a lot of ways it feels like the first time."

 

Morton was always talented and showed great success in the US stage races early on. However, he fell out of love with racing in Europe and found himself racing with Kelly Belly in America. 2015 was a struggle but he showed signs of form in California and then won Gila. However, his crowning moment came when he won the Tour of Utah convincingly ahead of WorldTour pros.

 

"I think I'm definitely more prepared physically, but I'm also hungrier and more motivated," said Morton. "When I became WorldTour with Garmin, I knew more or less two years before with the development team that I was going to be in the WorldTour. Then I was a stagiaire, so it was a very slow transition. In those two years, a lot of my motivation had waned so by the time that I got there it wasn't even really exciting I guess.”

 

He says the step from tier three to tier one of racing does give him some apprehension, even if he showed he can be a classy climber even against the best.

 

"I think anyone who is coming from a Continental team into the WorldTour would be lying if they said that there weren't apprehensive," he told Cyclingnews. "Even a new team, there is always nerves. I think that the difference for me this time is that it's all positive nerves. I know that I've got a lot of learning to do, but I really want to do it.”

 

Morton wants to excel in California and he hopes to ride his first Grand Tour at the 2017 Vuelta, having never raced one in his two years with Garmin.

 

"I think that the Tour of California is going to be a good opportunity for me as a real goal, but before that, I have a few WorldTour tours, which I think will be for experience and getting back into the swing of racing at that level. Coming back into it, you have to take them one at a time and then probably the Vuelta a España at the end of the year will be my introduction to Grand Tour racing. That's a big goal and a really big motivation for me. I think, if I was going to pick out two races then it would be California and the Vuelta."

 

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