Cyclingnews will be introducing some of the fresh faces in the WorldTour peloton for 2013 in a series of articles over the next month. Next up is Lachlan Morton who joins Garmin Sharp after three-years with Jonathan Vaughters' development team. Morton stepped into the ProTeam at the end of 2012 and is now looking ahead to his first full season in the WorldTour. The 20-year-old makes his 2013 debut in Australia at the Tour Down Under before aiming toward his next race, Le Tour de Langkawi.
Cyclingnews: How did your contract come about and what races bests showed your ability to be able to handle the WorldTour?
Lachlan Morton: I'd been with the development team for three years so basically it was just a gradual progression. I did a stagiaire role last year which was the final test to see how I would go.
They threw me in a little bit tired and I think they wanted to see how I would go when already a bit fatigued. I did the job I had to do at [Tour of] Colorado and [Tour of] Britain. I think that obviously proved to them that I was ready to make the step.
CN: Why did you start riding bikes? What got you into it initially?
LM: We were actually going to go into go-kart racing and we had family friends that were going to start at the same time. Their boys, Gus [my brother] and me are about the same age. Gus and I are similar age and they wanted to spread us out a bit because we are really competitive. They didn't want us to be in the same category together.
The other family started go-kart racing the year before we did and in that year we picked up bikes and joined the local club. Gus started racing criteriums a week before me but I just wanted to do whatever he was doing. I was eight and we would just race once week after playing soccer on Saturday. I guess we slowly got more into it and started riding more than once a week when I was about twelve. We met up with Graham Seers at out local club and he opened us up to the world of bike racing. It's just progressed for there.
CN: Did you do any other sports when you were growing up? Did you get into go-karting?
LM: No, we actually never did go-karting but I always played soccer when I was young and I did triathlon for a while but I hated training for swimming. That pretty much ruled-out triathlon. I always did school sports and actually played rugby for a while - which is hard to believe. Bike riding was always the big sport.
CN: Who was your sporting hero? Or who inspired you while growing up?
LM: Racing it was always Jan Ullrich. Gus and I were always big fans. Outside of cycling I always loved watching Valentino Rossi. He is just so impressive. I guess as I got older I stopped looking up to Ullirch so much.
CN: Which races do you most want to compete in? What about those in the WorldTour that you are excited about for this year?
LM: I'm looking forward to all the races I've got on my calendar. They are all exciting races for different reasons. For the first half of the year, which is all I really know, Langkawi is first off. I've done it before and I know it's a really cool race. One race I'm really looking forward to is California. For the WorldTour it would probably have to be Tour de Suisse.
CN: What was your reaction to the USADA/ US Postal case? Following on from Lance Armstrong's confession, do you have a strong opinion on the whole situation?
LM: Everyone has an opinion and anyone who knows the sport well enough probably wasn't overly surprised by it all. All I'll say is it's a shame because it doesn't reflect bike riding now. It's a step that it has to take to re-build the sport on a solid foundation.
Everyone's got an opinion and many of those are already out so I think a lot of people are sort of sick of reading about it. I think it's a bit irrelevant now. I've got my opinions but I don't think they are interesting to other people so much. As a young bike rider all you can focus on is yourself and the sport now. To me, the sport of the '90's is not the sport I'm racing in now. I don't focus on it too much at all.
CN: Have you had to make any major changes to your training program to smooth the transition into the ProTeam from the development team?
LM: A lot of this year is about learning and I had ideas of what I needed to do in training but I think if you try and change everything and attempt to step-up all in the off-season you can possibly do more harm than good. I've started working with a power meter - which I have never done before - but I haven't changed anything drastically.
I think after a year competing at this level I will have a better idea of what I need to do. I'm sure it's going to be a lot more difficult and that will have to be reflected in my training but for the moment I'm just keeping my eyes open.
CN: Have you spoken to any other riders on your team or another squad who have given you one piece of key advice that you have really taken on board?
LM: You have to take what works for you but rooming with Christian [Vande Velde] last year at Colorado [USA Pro Cycling Challenge] was really good for me. He's got so much experience and watching how he went about winning that race and preparation. I took a lot from him.
Alex Howes, who I raced with for a few years, he's one of my good mates. We've kept in touched through his first year [with the ProTeam] last year. I could sort of see all the things he was going through and took a lot of how he rode and took confidence from that.
CN: Where are you going to be based this year?
LM: Last year I lived in Toulouse, France and I wanted to go back there because once you have everything worked out I think it's an important thing. But the way the calendar works out I'll spend the first half of the year in Europe, Mallorca and then the second half will be spent in the U.S where I'll be based in Boulder.
Every new place you go, you have to work out where the good supermarkets are, the training routes, all that stuff. I seem to be pretty good at that now because I'm constantly bouncing around. I've lived out of a suitcase for two years now. Once you've got it down it's not too bad.
CN: Finally, are there any special talents outside of bike riding that you can use to impress your friends?
LM: There's a lot of skills I would like to think I have but most are probably not very good. To pinpoint a specific one is hard, I do like to take photos but again it's a skill I like to think I have but probably isn't actually a real skill.