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Morton puts gravel plans on hold but is relishing a 'throwback' challenge in July

Lachlan Morton
Lachlan Morton (Image credit: EF Pro Cycling)

EF Education-Nippo road and gravel racer Lachlan Morton has revealed that he is planning to take part in what he describes as “a big sort of ultra thing” in July.

“I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about yet, but it’s definitely gonna be a throwback to early, early cycling, which I’m excited about,” the Australian told Cyclingnews prior to the start of the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in Langeac.

“I don’t know when it’s going to be announced, but I can say that it’ll be cool. It’s one of those things that’s so daunting that it’s exciting. It’ll be fun.”

The Australian said that he has struggled to combine road and off-road objectives this season because of the ongoing health restrictions.

“It’s been a challenge just working out what races are gonna happen and where. Logistically, being in Europe and having to jump between continents isn’t as easy as it generally is,” said Lachlan, who in normal circumstances might have been competing in the Unbound Gravel event in Kansas this weekend instead of racing in France.

“It’s a shame not to be there this weekend to see how much bigger it is compared to when we were there last, but I’d say next year we’ll definitely be there. I’m just as excited to do this race, though,” he said of the Dauphiné. “We’re not exclusively a gravel team or a road team. I just go where I’m needed I guess.”

Following the Dauphiné, Morton is scheduled to continue his road programme at the Route d’Occitanie and the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge. He says he’ll then be looking forward to getting back to the off-road scene, where he’s likely to spend the rest of the season. 

“As much as I love racing in this stuff, it’s very intense. I can handle it for a month or two at a time, but I’ll be ready for something different soon,” he said. 

Following his “ultra thing” in July, he’s planning to participate in the Leadville and Steamboat gravel races, and then the Cape Epic at the end of the season. “It’s really cool to see how the gravel scene is exploding. It’s like a throwback to the early days of racing in many ways and I hope it maintains that without becoming too professional. I hope that it keeps that old school feel about it, that the approach of riders doesn’t change too much.”

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).