Lachlan Morton has signed a new contract with EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale, four years after leaving the team, then known as Garmin-Sharp.
The 26-year-old comes over to the team after two years with Dimension Data and prior to that he rode with US continental team Jelly Belly. His previous wins have included general classification at the Tour of Utah and Tour of the Gila as well as top tens at Tour of California and Tour of Oman.
After a rocky 2018, which saw him out of action early season with a broken arm due to a collision with a car on a training ride, he is happy to put the past season behind him and move forward.
“I’m sort of itching to get back into it to be honest,” he said about 2019 and his move to the team.
Morton is excited to tackle the alternative race program that is going to be set out for the 2019 EF Pro Cycling race schedule. Through the long-distance trips that he and his brother Gus have undertaken and produced the documentary series “Thereabouts” about, he believes the unique races are a great way to connect with fans.
“A lot of people have connected with me through the Thereabouts stuff because it’s relevant to them. I feel like a lot of the time when I’m racing I don’t feel like I’m really relevant to a lot of cycling fans,” Morton said.
He sees travelling by bike as a great way to broaden horizons and already has a strong connection with new sponsor in ‘19, Rapha. When Morton heard of EF and Rapha partnering up in ‘19, he called it “a perfect match.”
“I think the most exciting thing is they [EF Education First] really see the untapped value that’s sitting there in cycling. A lot of other sponsors haven’t really been able to tap into it. EF are really committed to growing it and in turn they’ll grow the sport as a whole,” Morton said. “I hope that we can successfully create that connection that makes World Tour cycling more relevant. And personally, I hope to be able to be competitive and get results in races from say, the likes of Dirty Kanza, way up to the likes of the Tour of Spain, that would be really cool.”
Before signing a two-year contract with Garmin-Sharp back in 2014, Morton had been a part of the Slipstream development program, a team back then known as Chipotle-First Solar Development Team. He has a long history with Slipstream as it has moved through its different iterations.
“Lachlan’s return to the team is something we’ve been excited about for some time. His climbing talent is quite clear, and his racing style can be very aggressive and fun to watch. I’m particularly keen on exploring some alternative races with Lachlan,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “A couple of years back, he dropped into Leadville when we sent Joe Dombrowski. That’s the kind of stuff we’ll be doing more of, and Lachlan will be a key part of that. We haven’t nailed down the exact alternative program yet, but it’s going to be a fun way to get to the races and interact with different groups of fans and racers.”
After leaving the team four years ago, which was then under the banner of Garmin-Sharp, he’s mostly looking forward to being back with old friends.
“They’re just a good group of people who have a pretty broad understanding of the world outside of cycling, which I think is important and motivating to be involved with, and what I’m looking forward to most if I’m honest. It looks like they’re having a lot of fun while they’re out there racing. They’re performing at a really high level. I think those things go hand in hand, and I’m excited to be part of that.”