Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development) put in a memorable performance in last weekend’s Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic, featuring in the day’s decisive break on the way to picking up both the Sprint and Mountains classifications. The result was particularly impressive considering that the 19-year-old’s participation at the event was only confirmed three days prior.
A nagging knee injury had meant the Port Macquarie local had been unable to train for over a month leading into the race, following a big season in the United States and Europe.
Despite the time off the bike, Morton decided to participate at the event anyway- and in the end - was not far off winning it.
"I was uncertain as to how well I could go today, I really had no idea where my form was, just with the knee troubles and the time off the bike," Morton told Cyclingnews. "But on Wednesday I just decided, that yeah I was going to do it, and it’s turned out really well."
On the crucial climb up the Gibraltar range, an opportunistic Morton made what would be a race defining move with eventual winner Mark Jamieson (Jayco-2XU), with the youngster shredding the chasing field on the 18 kilometre climb.
"I felt really good on [Gibraltar]," said Morton. "I had some pretty good legs at that point so I just went. Even when we got caught [by the eight others after the summit] I felt alright. But going into the final 30 kilometres, the early effort, and the lack of miles in the legs caught up with me."
Despite looking the strongest climber in the break, Morton was unable to follow the late move of TDU rider Mark O’Brien on Gibson’s Hill, and eventually finished in sixth, in the second group on the road.
A fatigued Morton did however pick up the King of the Mountain and Sprint prizes with both coming as just reward for his aggression in the first 180 kilometres.
"I gave it a sniff on the first climb, and just went from there," said Morton. "I had no intention of going after either competition, but then no one was contesting them and they were so easy to pick up. It’s all a nice bonus."
For the 19-year-old, Grafton concludes a long season that saw Morton grab 6th overall in the Tour de Langkawi in February, before capturing third overall in the Tour of the Gila and second at Cascade.
Alex Hinds, Production Editor
Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.
If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.
Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.
When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.
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