Norris sets sights on Olympic goal

Australian road rider and mountain biker Lachlan Norris says he'll continue riding both disciplines until the London Olympics as the 24-year-old aims for representative honours at next year's Olympic Games.

The affable Victorian, who rides on the road for Australian Continental team Drapac, finished second at last month's Australian Mountain Bike National Championships and will compete for the Giant Factory Team in World Cup events throughout 2011.

"I'm going to be racing with the Giant Factory Team in the States, so I'll do a bit of mountain biking with them at most of the World Cups and I'll also do two months in Belgium with Drapac," Norris told Cyclingnews.

"The Giant Factory guys are a pretty good crew - good fun to hang out with a good environment to hopefully get some strong results. I'll do Sea Otter and probably a couple of others, but basically I'll just do most of the World Cups.

"It'll be a pretty hectic year - I think it's good for both sides of my cycling, though. I really don't have to train... I just race!"

Norris has largely flown under the radar, not having competed with the Australian Institute of Sport squad and preferring to ride as part of the Drapac outfit which focuses on developing young riders. He finished fifth in the Australian Open Road Championships elite men's road race in January before his runner up position at MTB Nationals.

"This first part of the year's been really good; I've had a good strong preparation and I haven't overcooked it yet, which is good. I think that this year the plan will be to maintain good form all year, without going over the top, and try and get some good solid results.

Known as 'Chuck' to some of his close friends, Norris will be part of Drapac's squad that competes in Belgium and Ireland for two months this year, something that has him excited.

"I'm pretty motivated for both," he said. "We'll be doing a few tours [in Belgium]; we've got Fleche du Sud and the Milk Ras in Ireland and a few other little tours... it's a good mix. Any week we don't have a tour or one-day races we can just rock up and do some pro kermesses, which are always tough.

"Each one [road and mountain biking] has different qualities so you need to maintain your skills on the mountain bike and the actual power transfer is different - you've got to keep on top of both. So far it's worked alright, so hopefully I can just keep juggling it. I guess there are clashes, which is the biggest trouble.

And it's all with the aim of heading to next year's London Olympics as a mountain bike representative, an ambition which keeps him in the dirt when many others would have chased the road dream.

"I guess London [Olympics] next year is a massive goal; I think I want to keep juggling it and try to get the best of both worlds until then - that's the focus at the moment. Hopefully by that stage I'll have some good results both on the mountain bike and the road, which will give me some options."

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