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Everyone is cheering for Lachlan Morton to cross the line first in Paris

EF Education-Nippo rider is halfway through his 5,508km Alt Tour journey

Photo by: Rapha

Lachlan Morton (EF Education-Nippo) is taking on the Tour de France a bit differently this year, and, so far his ‘Alt Tour’ journey has been inspiring to follow along.

Instead of racing in the Tour itself, the Australian cyclist is taking on the entire Tour de France route, including the transfers, completely unsupported. The Tour de France is 3,383 kilometres but, including the distances between stages (normally the riders are taken by bus), Morton is riding a total of 5,508 kilometres with 15,000 metres of elevation gain. He’s also aiming to get to Paris before the riders cross the finish line of the last stage, which will be difficult as there is a 700km transfer between the 20th and 21st stages.

RELATED: Lachlan Morton’s Alt Tour will attempt to outrun the peloton in France

photo: Rapha

Alt Tour

A calm and likeable cyclist, Morton is easy to cheer for.

EF Education-Nippo has grown its “alternative program” in the last few years, sending riders to events and races that don’t fall onto the traditional WorldTour schedule. There’s something so fun about watching Morton, a major proponent of his team’s alternative racing program, race the most traditional road cycling event in the least traditional way.

Watching him riding along in sandals eating baguettes and camping in the French countryside feels like a stark contrast with the Tour’s dramatic crashes, unexpectedly intense long stages and rider protests.

Lotto-Soudal rider Thomas De Gendt joked that he would feel safer joining Morton on his ride.

While Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) and retired pro Phil Gaimon couldn’t resist joking about him experiencing the Tour de France the same way all the other riders are.

The 29-year-old’s solo Tour hasn’t been without some major challenges. He’s had some very wet days (resulting in a soggy sleeping bag) knee pain (which he resolved by riding in sandals on flat pedals) and a number of flats. On more than one occasion he’s had trouble finding food, a big problem when you’re riding up to 300km a day.

On July 4, Morton passed the halfway mark of his ride and is taking on Mont Ventoux two times as he rides the stage the peloton will hit a few days later.

EF Education-Nippo has been following Morton on his journey, posting regularly about his daily challenges and victories on Instagram and Twitter. Many of the clips of Morton riding feature other riders joining the pro cyclist on his Alt Tour. French cyclists who want to support Morton can find his location, which EF Education-Nippo has shared using a live-tracking map. Other fans who want to support him can donate to support this World Bicycle Relief fundraiser as well.