Keegan Swenson and Lachlan Morton team up to tackle Cape Epic
American pair to ride eight-day mountain bike stage race as team
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Keegan Swenson and Lachlan Morton have teamed up to tackle the Absa Cape Epic, mountain biking's biggest stage race. The duo will race the South African event from 19-26 March, forgoing their trade teams for the race and riding in a joint kit.
Morton, who rides an alternative calendar for EF Education-EasyPost, raced the Cape Epic in 2021 with Team Amani’s Kenneth Karaya in 2021, whike Swenson paired up with cross-country pro Maxime Marotte for 11th overall last year.
Morton is a familiar name in the world of cycling, having latterly raced for EF at WorldTour level, but it is escapades away from the road peloton that have gained the Australian fame and respect.
These adventures include the "Alt Tour" in 2021, when he rode the entire Tour de France route, including transfers, solo, and his ride to the Ukraine border last year to raise money for refugees from the warzone.
Swenson, of Santa Cruz Bicycles, meanwhile, is the current US national cross-country MTB champion, and also won the Life Time Grand Prix gravel race last year. It is also his second attempt.
“He is probably the strongest and most experienced partner I am ever going to get for this race," Morton said in a press release from EF. "When he asked me if I was interested in doing it, I had to think about it, because I was worried I was not going to be on his level.
"Then, I realised that I had a few months to focus and get ready to test myself against the world’s best mountain bikers. It is kind of a daunting prospect, but the fact that I was scared about it, and am nervous about it, means that it is a worthwhile thing to take on.”
The Cape Epic consists of eight-days of racing, with riders covering 658km in total, which includes 15,775m of climbing. It is tackled in pairs as a safety measure.
“Racing with Keegan is going to be awesome,” Morton said. “He is probably the strongest and most experienced partner I am ever going to get for this race. When he asked me if I was interested in doing it, I had to think about it, because I was worried I was not going to be on his level.
“Then, I realized that I had a few months to focus and get ready to test myself against the world’s best mountain bikers. It is kind of a daunting prospect, but the fact that I was scared about it, and am nervous about it, means that it is a worthwhile thing to take on.”
Despite never having raced as a team, there are reasons for hope for the pair.
“I think we have a chance,” Swenson said. “I don’t know that we’re gonna be the quickest team there, but I think we’ll be the most durable and consistent. Both of us can just go for a long time. We’re both good climbers. Coming from road, he [Morton] has so much experience racing the WorldTour, which can be valuable for this type of racing. Between his road and my XC, we have a big toolbox that others don’t have.
“You are not just relying on yourself at the Cape Epic. You have to take care of your partner and your partner needs to take care of you. You need to strategize for how the days will play out and that adds a whole other dynamic to racing that most other races don’t have, so I am really looking forward to it. Lachlan is probably one of the chillest dudes I know, so I think it is going to be fun racing with him. I am excited. We are ready to get cracking.”
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Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.
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