Lachlan Morton beats Tour de France to Paris by six days

The pro rider took on the solo challenge to complete the entire Tour route before the peloton

Lachlan Morton has completed his solo Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty/ Rapha )

Lachlan Morton has beaten the Tour de France peloton to Paris by six days. 

The EF Education-Nippo and Rapha rider took on the staggering challenge of riding the entire 2021 Tour de France route (including the transfers) solo and unsupported, before the yellow jersey reached the Champs Élysées. 

Morton, 29, is famed for taking on hugely demanding off-calendar riding challenges, but this 18-day, 5,500km mission is by far the toughest. 

Dubbed the ‘Alt Tour,’ the Aussie was taking on the solo effort in the spirit of the first ever Tours de France, all while raising money for World Bicycle Relief, which donates hard-wearing bikes to communities that need them.

So far Morton has raised £379,000 for the charity, or 3,146 bikes at £120 each. 

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After 18 days in the saddle, 225 hours of riding, covering 5,509km, Morton arrived in Paris overnight and had to complete laps of the Champs Élysée to recreate the processional sprint stage of the Tour de France.

Morton rode the entire 3,414km of the official Tour de France route, while also completing an additional 2,000km of transfers, which his team-mates would have undertaken while sat in their warm and comfortable team buses. 

He finally wrapped up his ride at 5.30 on Tuesday morning (July 13), celebrating with a bottle of champagne. 

In the final stage of his effort, Morton had to take on the 500km transfer from Angoulême all the way north to Paris.

Starting at 7am on Monday (July 12), that last stint took him 21 hours of moving time, as he stopped for less than two hours. 

He also held a mind-blowing average speed of 27.7km/h during his final ride. 

The aim of the ride was to take the Tour de France back to its brutal roots, when the race organisers wanted the event to be so tough only one rider would finish.

>>> Ben O'Connor: the humble Australian living a Tour de France dream

Speaking before he set off, Morton said: “I just think that era of cycling was really exciting. 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.”  

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.