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Lachlan Morton

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They do seem to be going really hard with what is essentially, "Rider who isn't good enough to make the Tour team decides to turn up anyway". I too like what he's doing, it's very much my kind of riding, but it feels a little off to keep him on a WT team when others are more capable racers.
Morton seems to have reached an agreement with EF, he's known that he doesn't want to race GTs even though he has the ability for 6-7 years now. He just wants to ride his bike everyday and still somehow make ends meet, this is his means to that end.

His numbers as a junior were otherworldly, with the right attitude he could be an excellent WT climber, but structured training and racing holds no interest for him.
 
Morton seems to have reached an agreement with EF, he's known that he doesn't want to race GTs even though he has the ability for 6-7 years now. He just wants to ride his bike everyday and still somehow make ends meet, this is his means to that end.

His numbers as a junior were otherworldly, with the right attitude he could be an excellent WT climber, but structured training and racing holds no interest for him.
He's got 5 wins in the Tour of Utah over a what, 10 year career? I'm not knocking the dude, I'm sure he had good numbers and maybe if he focussed on the training he could get a stage here or there, but if he was good enough to make the Tour team, he'd be racing the Tour. Instead he's doing a marketing tour for EF/Rapha, riding less distance per day than the average TCR racer does. I enjoy the videos, he seems like a nice fella and it's my kind of riding, but it is what it is. I'd prefer to see EF use him as an ambassador, or spin out some actual alternative group and race non-UCI events (because many of the people who do race these things are in-effect professionals) and give that team spot to someone who actually wants to race on a UCI WT team.
 
They do seem to be going really hard with what is essentially, "Rider who isn't good enough to make the Tour team decides to turn up anyway". I too like what he's doing, it's very much my kind of riding, but it feels a little off to keep him on a WT team when others are more capable racers.
I think you can attribute this to the way cycling is financed. As long as it is sponsorship driven, you will have cases like Lachlan. For better or worse, the fact of the matter is Lachlan brings more attention than a “common” domestique. (Please don’t take that to be disrespectful- I know how talented one must be to be a “common” domestique).
Also, and I’m admittedly biased, I think if Lachlan’s focus was 100% on racing in the pro peloton, he is talented enough to be helpful on a mid or low budget world tour team (like EF).
 
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I think you can attribute this to the way cycling is financed. As long as it is sponsorship driven, you will have cases like Lachlan. For better or worse, the fact of the matter is Lachlan brings more attention than a “common” domestique. (Please don’t take that to be disrespectful- I know how talented one must be to be a “common” domestique).
Also, and I’m admittedly biased, I think if Lachlan’s focus was 100% on racing in the pro peloton, he is as talented enough to be helpful on a mid or low budget world tour team (like EF).
This is exactly it. JV has always looked for a point-of-difference with other WT teams, and the alternative calendar with Kanza, Leadville, GBDuro etc garners EF a lot more attention (especially in the US) than say, some other talented guy getting bottles at the Dauphine.

The EF team Youtube most popular videos - Kanza, Kokopelli Trail record attempt, GBDuro, Leadville & 3-peaks - all have more views that the highest WT-race 'behind the scenes' video - which was the Flanders that Bettiol won!
 
He's got 5 wins in the Tour of Utah over a what, 10 year career? I'm not knocking the dude, I'm sure he had good numbers and maybe if he focussed on the training he could get a stage here or there, but if he was good enough to make the Tour team, he'd be racing the Tour. Instead he's doing a marketing tour for EF/Rapha, riding less distance per day than the average TCR racer does. I enjoy the videos, he seems like a nice fella and it's my kind of riding, but it is what it is. I'd prefer to see EF use him as an ambassador, or spin out some actual alternative group and race non-UCI events (because many of the people who do race these things are in-effect professionals) and give that team spot to someone who actually wants to race on a UCI WT team.
This.
 
He's not even the weakest rider on his team and in the entire WT you would find at least a dozen or two who are nowhere near as good as him.
Only Moreno Hofland is currently ranked lower than Lachlan (two riders are unranked) on PCS and not being the worst rider in the WT doesn't seem like a strong argument for keeping someone who doesn't seem to want to race WT races on a team roster.

I think you can attribute this to the way cycling is financed. As long as it is sponsorship driven, you will have cases like Lachlan. For better or worse, the fact of the matter is Lachlan brings more attention than a “common” domestique. (Please don’t take that to be disrespectful- I know how talented one must be to be a “common” domestique).
Also, and I’m admittedly biased, I think if Lachlan’s focus was 100% on racing in the pro peloton, he is talented enough to be helpful on a mid or low budget world tour team (like EF).
I can't think of another case like Lachlan and I think it's a brilliant bit of marketing by EF to exploit this area. I also don't think there will be many, if any others, like him because gravel/ultra isn't new and is the only form of cycling that the pros haven't really taken over yet (unless we include fixed gear racing but that's usually dominated by any pro who decides to just turn up). Again, I'm not having a go at the guy. Good for him for working out a way to do what he loves and get paid for it. He's extremely good at it and is very likeable. I think even if he hadn't raced in the WT he'd have been able to make something like this work for himself through a different route.

I guess I'm mainly critical of their marketing here because what he's doing isn't actually that hard when you look at what loads of amateurs do either in races like the TCR or just riding brevets. The numbers are very achievable (and dare I say even easy?) for someone of his considerable talent. Maybe he should have ridden it on a fixed gear..? :) I think because road races pretty much never go over 250km, people who watch road racing and see that kind of number don't have a great perception of how it relates to ultra-racing. As I've said before, it's less than average (median) for the TCR. That's including the riders who are essentially professionals, but also including the ones who have non-cycling day jobs, families who aren't used to them being away for long periods of time and a whole host of other commitments that aren't usually as much of a concern for pro-cyclists.

I raced mtb xc in the early 90s and once nonindigenous sponsors showed up a lot of the fun evaporated. That said, I still enjoy mountain biking. I suspect that gravel will go the same way.
I think it'll be pretty quick, because if we're honest gravel has been around for a long time. You were riding it in the 90s on your XC bike, I was riding it before I moved to other sports and I started back on "gravel" when I got another MTB. We're already seeing guys like Strickland attempt to impose their own "rules" on a discipline that people like, exactly because it doesn't have rules, and when pros (of which I include Strickland et. al. in the definition) turn up prepared, they pretty much dominate any race they enter. Even in my group of clubmates and riding friends, much of the gravel chat has turned towards gravel-specific races, power meters, most aero ways to carry kit etc. That race mentality that, for some people, sucked the fun out of other forms of cycling is coming fast. That said, lots of people will love that kind of riding and I'm not suggesting that I'm right and they're wrong (and this is getting a bit from from Lachlan now!). There's even another discussion to be had around pros racing these events and whether a level playing field can truly be found, but that's definitely off-topic.
 
Only Moreno Hofland is currently ranked lower than Lachlan (two riders are unranked) on PCS and not being the worst rider in the WT doesn't seem like a strong argument for keeping someone who doesn't seem to want to race WT races on a team roster.
You may take a look at results of riders like Arroyave, Beppu and Nakane, compare them to Morton's and tell me in which way they're better riders or more useful for the team than him ATM.

Not being the worst rider is a strong argument for not criticising the team for keeping him in particular. I have no idea what races Morton does want or does not want to race, the fact is that he is having an acceptable number of race days every year and he is having fewer DNFs than some of his team mates and he is up there delivering in some of the smaller races every year, which again, can't be said about all of his team mates. He is simply a better WT rider than a not insignificant number of other riders so "doesn't seem to want to race WT races" doesn't seem like a strong argument for targetting him in particular as not deserving a place in WT.
 
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Not sure the need to be so down on Lachlan here. He is a true one of a kind in pro cycling. Good for him that he has found a team to support his endeavors and let him pay his bills. EF and Rapha clearly enjoy the marketing and i am sure the 1200 people that will be provided with bikes from World Bicycle Relief (as i type this) will also be happy to receive a bike that may be of great help to their lives. Something like this shouldn't be compared to TCR or anything else, it has been devised to be a "good story" to coincide with the biggest race in the world. Him turning up to Paris 12 days before the race doesn't provide a good narrative, him turning up just before them, unsupported with his tent etc does provide a good narrative. Chapeau Lachlan and hope you raise many more thousands for World Bicycle Relief
 
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You may take a look at results of riders like Arroyave, Beppu and Nakane, compare them to Morton's and tell me in which way they're better riders or more useful for the team than him ATM.
Arroyave is 21 and Nakane has a win at Langkawi and is currently ranked higher than Morton. I think it'd be fairly easy to make a case for both of them at the moment, but I'm not really discussing whether other EF riders should also be there or not. Beppu likely falls in a similar category as Lachlan right now.

Not being the worst rider is a strong argument for not criticising the team for keeping him in particular. I have no idea what races Morton does want or does not want to race, the fact is that he is having an acceptable number of race days every year and he is having fewer DNFs than some of his team mates and he is up there delivering in some of the smaller races every year, which again, can't be said about all of his team mates. He is simply a better WT rider than a not insignificant number of other riders so "doesn't seem to want to race WT races" doesn't seem like a strong argument for targetting him in particular as not deserving a place in WT.
This is the Lachlan Morton thread, discussing him specifically here is kind of the point. His teammates can be discussed in other threads and whether they also merit a WT space or if EF should be looking to bring in talent from lower teams.
 
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Beppu and Nakane are interesting examples given this year's co-sponsor.

A riders value ≠ their PCS ranking. Unless we think Tim DeClercq is 690th in the world? Or Morkov 150th? Erviti has been selected for 26 Grand Tours despite never ranking inside the top 200 etc etc....
It's an interesting discussion. If Morkov is the best leadout man in the peloton, how much is that worth?

I see Lachlan's worth overall, my point is more that I think he could provide this without taking up a WT spot.
 
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He's got 5 wins in the Tour of Utah over a what, 10 year career? I'm not knocking the dude, I'm sure he had good numbers and maybe if he focussed on the training he could get a stage here or there, but if he was good enough to make the Tour team, he'd be racing the Tour. Instead he's doing a marketing tour for EF/Rapha, riding less distance per day than the average TCR racer does. I enjoy the videos, he seems like a nice fella and it's my kind of riding, but it is what it is. I'd prefer to see EF use him as an ambassador, or spin out some actual alternative group and race non-UCI events (because many of the people who do race these things are in-effect professionals) and give that team spot to someone who actually wants to race on a UCI WT team.
I get what you're saying and that's what EF should do, that would be great.

I'm just saying that Morton's performances as a 19 to 21yo were world class - he came top 6 at Alberta at 17 on restricted gears - and the reason he doesn't make the TDF team is because he doesn't want to do the hours of structure needed, day after day, he just wants to ride his bike.
 
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It's an interesting discussion. If Morkov is the best leadout man in the peloton, how much is that worth?

I see Lachlan's worth overall, my point is more that I think he could provide this without taking up a WT spot.
I don't think it hurts them to have him down as a WT rider. They can send him to WT races (he has 19 race days this year, it's not a lot, but it's not nothing) and he's good enough to finish/contribute/fetch bottles as needed. But it definitely helps the concept ("We're sending our World Tour pros to race the 3 Peaks Challenge/Set the LEJOG record/go on a camping trip/do an Everesting on his local hill!") that it be a WT racer doing it. Otherwise they might as well just put Phil Gaimon on the payroll, or let Tejay/Phinney do it now that they're retired.
 
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I think this sort of stuff resonates with people who aren't so into the prestige, pressure and pretentiousness of pro cycling and its effects on wider cycling culture. Probably also a bit of a reaction to the popularisation of mountain biking too. No "the rules", no dentists on cervelos and pinarellos, no bignoting local crit alphas, no obnoxious motocross revheads on mountain bikes. Just vibes. And Rapha? Genius marketing for a brand that was previously everything this sort of alt cycling culture isn't to get ahead of the curve

Gravel and ultra cycling are kinda analagous to trail running in that sense, although all are being fast commercialised and elite events are becoming increasingly competitive as pro athletes migrate from other disciplines.
Hey, I resemble that remark! :D
 
It's an interesting discussion. If Morkov is the best leadout man in the peloton, how much is that worth?

I see Lachlan's worth overall, my point is more that I think he could provide this without taking up a WT spot.
Morkov is some type of MVR!

EDIT: I agree with what you are saying in that LM could do what he does without taking a roster spot, but maybe that's what he and they want? I'm only guessing because I haven't talked to JV for about20 years!
 
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I get what you're saying and that's what EF should do, that would be great.

I'm just saying that Morton's performances as a 19 to 21yo were world class - he came top 6 at Alberta at 17 on restricted gears - and the reason he doesn't make the TDF team is because he doesn't want to do the hours of structure needed, day after day, he just wants to ride his bike.
Morton's probably an example of the fact that "just ride more" has a definite limit. In one of the EF youtube videos Mike Woods says Lachlan rides about 40 hours a week most of the time.
 
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I get what you're saying and that's what EF should do, that would be great.

I'm just saying that Morton's performances as a 19 to 21yo were world class - he came top 6 at Alberta at 17 on restricted gears - and the reason he doesn't make the TDF team is because he doesn't want to do the hours of structure needed, day after day, he just wants to ride his bike.
That's fair, although I would say there are a lot of juniors who excel at that age but never make it. EF spinning out an actual "adeventure" team would be great. It would come with other issues, that'd be better discussed elsewhere, and I'm guessing they don't have the funds to do it at the moment (LM will no doubt get more money as a WT pro than he would elsewhere at the moment).

I don't think it hurts them to have him down as a WT rider. They can send him to WT races (he has 19 race days this year, it's not a lot, but it's not nothing) and he's good enough to finish/contribute/fetch bottles as needed. But it definitely helps the concept ("We're sending our World Tour pros to race the 3 Peaks Challenge/Set the LEJOG record/go on a camping trip/do an Everesting on his local hill!") that it be a WT racer doing it. Otherwise they might as well just put Phil Gaimon on the payroll, or let Tejay/Phinney do it now that they're retired.
That's some good points, it'll certainly help the marketing.

Morkov is some type of MVR!

EDIT: I agree with what you are saying in that LM could do what he does without taking a roster spot, but maybe that's what he and they want? I'm only guessing because I haven't talked to JV for about20 years!
I'd guess it's exactly what they all want. LM seems to be loving the alt stuff and if you go to the EF website you'll see that the vast majority of the links on the front page are about the Alt Tour and there is 1 about the Tour. That'd be a little troubling for me if I were a sponsor if I'm honest, but JV no-doubt knows better than I do.
 
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The Alternative racing has proved to be massively popular with the views on YouTube regularly beating the 'proper racing' videos. I think this is because is resonates more with people, it's something we can all do; get out on the bike, and go on an adventure - whether it's 1 weekend, or a week/ month.
Sponsors are in the sport for exposure - well the Alt Tour is certainly getting exposure = a result. I think the whole 'alternative' programme is proving that sponsors/teams can get exposure in other ways - which is what they set out to do at the start. There's a whole world out there outside of the World Tour!

It seems as if Trinity are doing 'similar' type of films; as well as CX, MTB & Road they've done a couple of adventure type films; and one of their riders has just finished the Migration Gravel race in Kenya; 600 km over 4 days.
 

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