Lachlan Morton Finishes His Alt Tour Ahead of the Tour de France Peloton


By Jessica Coulon |

As if that goal wasn’t lofty enough, Morton also rode the transfers between stages, and he beat the peloton to Paris by five days.

Morton called his ride “The Alt Tour.” In part, it was an homage to the early days of the Tour de France, when all Tour cyclists actually rode self-supported and took on incredibly gruelling stages, even longer than today’s standards. Similarly, for fueling, he relied on whatever he could carry with him and local establishments. He even camped along the way, his bike loaded up with a sleeping pad, cook stove, and more.

“I just think that era of cycling was really exciting,” Morton said in an EF Education-Nippo blog post, prior to his ride. “At that time, the Tour director basically wanted one finisher, so it was a totally different sport compared to what it is now. The scope and scale of the stages then were really inspiring.”

tour de france results

It’s also a very Lachlan Morton thing to do. He’s a UCI WorldTour cyclist, but he loves adventure cycling, and when he’s not racing around Europe, he can be found racing EF’s “alternative calendar” at events like Unbound Gravel and Leadville 100. Last summer, he set the record for Everesting on a bike (his record has since been broken several times).

“The point is to challenge himself, inspire people, and gain a profound understanding of France, its citizens, and its landscapes,” reads another post on the EF Education-Nippo blog.

Morton also raised money for World Bicycle Relief, an international nonprofit that donates bicycles to people in rural communities who are in need of transportation to better their lives. So far, he’s raised enough money to donate close to 3 270 bikes. (You can donate here.)

“Everybody at World Bicycle Relief has been blown away at Lachlan’s mammoth effort on our behalf,” Allison Dufosee, CEO of World Bicycle Relief UK, said in a Rapha press release. We have many fundraisers who undertake challenges to raise funds for us, for which we are incredibly grateful. When considering a challenge, thoughts are usually about the distance and how long that will take. However, the thousands of recipients of the bicycles that Lachlan has raised through incredible global generosity have no choice about the time or distance of their challenge.”

To put the Alt Tour feat even more into perspective, this year’s Tour is 3,414 kilometres (2,121 miles) long, while Morton’s journey came to 5 510 kilometres with roughly 23 000 meters more climbing than the Tour route. He also skipped the rest days (Tour riders get two) and rode during the night as needed.

Morton rode his usual race bike—a Cannondale SuperSix Evo—and said it was actually perfect for his fast-paced bikepacking quest. (He did go up one frame size so it could accommodate more gear.)

lachlan morton alt tour
Rapha/Lucy Le Lievre

Though he makes it look easy, Morton’s ride was not without its hiccups. He dealt with a knee problem for much of the ride, which forced him to switch to riding with flat pedals (and modified Birkenstocks, naturally) right before hitting the Alps. Tour mountain stages are brutal enough on their own, and they were especially difficult given Morton’s heavy bike and less-than-ideal pedal setup.

But he made it nonetheless, averaging roughly 15mph overall, and crossed the finish line still in sandals. Morton finished in the early morning on July 13, around 5:30 a.m. local time. His final push to the finish came to over 350 miles with 12,575 feet of elevation gain.

Keeping with Tour tradition, Morton rode the final laps around the Champs-Élysées—and celebrated his incredible journey with some much-deserved Champagne.

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