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EF Education-Nippo rider is doing the Tour de France his own way. Morton’s so-called Alt Tour is a massive 5,500km solo bikepacking undertaking where he is riding not only every stage of the Tour, but all the transfers in between as well. As of Wednesday night, the EF Education-Nippo rider had covered 3,632km/2,257mi in 148 hours of total riding time.
Conceived and supported by EF Education-Nippo and Rapha, the Alt Tour is also a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief, for which Morton has now raised $300,000.
He is trying to beat the Tour peloton to Paris.
Yesterday was day 12 for Morton and stage 11 for the Tour de France. Morton started the day in La Llagonne, finished the course for stage 14 in the Pyrenees, and pedaled on into the 100km transfer to the start of stage 15.
Also, he was tired.
“It’s a very different tired,” Morton said. “It takes me two or three hours to get going. After five hours I feel really good and the last four or five hours are really difficult again. The toll on my body is a lot more, I’ve got blisters everywhere, I haven’t been sleeping as much as I normally would.”
His gear situation is a mash-up of high-end road race and bikepacking comfort. He has gone back and forth between road shoes and sandals, in an effort to alleviate knee pain. The sandals gave him blisters, though. Now, he has carbon soles inside his sandals.
Morton is camping most nights.
While he is still more than three full stages ahead of the Tour peloton, an enormous 700km transfer looms ahead, which the Tour peloton will do the day before the final stage 21.
“I’ve been trying to ride more or less 12 hours every day, or at least that’s what it has ended up being,” Morton said. “I’ve got to get back through the Pyrenees and do the really long transfer back to Paris so it’s still a significant amount of riding to go.”
Morton said he wants to ride the 700km transfer in a single ride. If he can complete it, it will be the longest ride — 435 miles — that he has ever done.
Today, Morton rode into Andorra to finish stage 15. And then, as he has every day, he kept on going.
You can track his progress and that of the Tour peloton on a map at alttour.ef.com.