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Lachlan Morton is trying to beat the Tour de France to Paris.
While eight of his EF Education-Nippo teammates begin the Tour de France, Lachlan Morton has set out on his own so-called Alt Tour, where he is attempting to ride the entire route of the three-week stage race on his own — including the transfers where the racers and staff travel by vehicles. Further, he is trying to get to Paris before the peloton does.
He is riding unsupported, bikepacking-style, carrying everything on his bike but the groceries he can buy along the way. In a way, it’s a throwback to the style of the original Tour de France, when riders rode unsupported, and stages ran as much as 300 miles long.
For context, the official Tour route is 3,383km (2,102mi). The transfers add more than 2,400km. The longer transfer is more than 700km for the final stage into Paris. Teams often take a train or fly for this leg, while support staff drives the vehicles on the long haul.
Morton estimates that the effort could take him 238 hours of riding over 23 days.
Lachlan has already undertaken many extreme solo distance challenges, such as the 2,000km GBDuro (5 day, 8 hours), the 850km Colorado Trail (3 days, 22 minutes), and the 700km Badlands (44 hours with no sleep).
“I’m excited to explore the origins of cycling and see for myself just how different the experience is,” Morton said. “It’s a challenge that in many ways combines the two elements of cycling I have pursued the most, exploration and competition. Without intention I have essentially spent my whole life preparing for it. I know it’s going to be the most physically demanding ride I’ve undertaken but I anticipate the challenges of completing the route self supported to be equally difficult. In doing the ride I hope to celebrate the history of the Tour de France while broadening the ideas of what a bike tour of France can be. And in the process, we’re going to be able to help get more people on bikes and make their day-to-day travels better. That’s the best part about the whole thing.”
EF Education First chairman Philip Hult said what Morton is attempting might not be possible. “I’m in awe that he’s even attempting it,” Hult said. “Whether or not he beats the Tour to Paris, at EF we believe that cycling, and daring to reach for the impossible, can help solve many of the world’s problems. And whatever the outcome, working with World Bicycle Relief means we can empower more people through the Power of Bicycles. And that’s an incredible thing to be a part of.”
You can learn about Buffalo bikes and World Bicycle Relief here.
“We are delighted by the incredibly generous donations from both Rapha and EF Education First along with all of Lachlan’s supporters who will be cheering him along on this epic ride,” said WBR UK CEO Allison Dufosee. “These donations will allow us to fund the delivery of thousands of Buffalo Bicycles to mobilize communities and to enable access to education across rural areas of the world. This challenge is significant for raising awareness of our mission and the Power of Bicycles and we wish Lachlan the best of luck.”
You can follow Morton’s progress live on a map on rapha.cc/thealttour.