Lachlan Morton teams up with Jordan Schleck Ssekanwagi for Cape Epic

The pair will race in a special-edition EF Education-Easypost x Team AMANI Rapha kit

March 13, 2024

Lachlan Morton is on his way back to South Africa to race Cape Epic, this time with Jordan Schleck Ssekanwagi of Team AMANI.

The 20th edition of the mountain bike stage race, often called the off-road Tour de France, runs from March 17 to 24. Eight stages, covering over 600 kilometers with 16,500 meters of vertical ascent, will take riders into the rugged bushland and vineyards of the Western Cape.

Jordan and Lachlan will take turns in the wind, pushing up steep singletrack climbs and ripping down descents in their effort to challenge the world’s best mountain bikers. Cape Epic is raced by teams of two to help keep riders safe in the backcountry. Lachlan is stoked to ride with Jordan. The two have already done a lot of racing and training together during Lachlan’s work with the AMANI project.

“Jordan races on the road, on the mountain bike, on the gravel, and he is pretty handy in all of the disciplines,” Lachlan says. “He can do it all. He has got a lot of punch and definitely has an engine, but he is also race savvy and he has spent a lot of time dedicated to the process of getting better. I have been able to spend a lot of time with the AMANI team and it has been cool to see Jordan develop as a rider. This year, he managed to qualify for the Life Time series, which is a good stepping stone for him and a big step for AMANI, so it seemed like a no-brainer to pair up for Epic.”

Jordan’s main goal in South Africa will be to gain experience and learn from Lachlan. Cape Epic is going to be one of the biggest races Jordan has ever done, but he thinks that he and Lachlan can impress the World Cup mountain bikers who challenge for the podium.

“For me, Cape Epic is a great opportunity,” Jordan says. “It will be a good experience to learn from Lachlan during the race. He was a WorldTour rider, so it is pretty exciting. The first goal will be to gain experience and learn a lot of things, and then secondly to get some good results and to perform really well and represent the team in a positive way.”

That is what Jordan’s squad, Team AMANI, is all about.

“AMANI is an East African team with riders from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, and Ethiopia,” Jordan says. “The main goal of the team is to help riders access international racing opportunities, so that they can show the world their talent. I am from Uganda. I grew up in the Katwe Musoke Zone of Kampala. When we were kids, there were no races for us. We had to ride elite races to stay active in the sport. But I loved the beauty and freedom of cycling. I’ve met so many friends through riding bikes. I feel fortunate to get these opportunities.”

Lachlan wants to keep opening doors for riders like Jordan. He admires Team AMANI’s ethos. He has spent a lot of time over the past years, working with the project and doing what he can to help its mission.

“AMANI provides opportunities for athletes who otherwise probably wouldn’t get them,” he says. “It is a legitimate team. It is not a charity. It is just a team that is building itself up and getting results. The riders are proving themselves every step of the way. For me, personally, it is just a rewarding thing to be a part of, because the team is a great group of athletes and people that I enjoy spending time with. They are proving that riders who may not have the means at first can compete if they get the opportunities. East African athletes are seeing that it is possible, that there is a way for them to race overseas against the best. Within the group, there are now a lot of riders who are very ambitious, especially the younger ones. Team AMANI is going to go from strength to strength, I think.”

The next big start for Team AMANI and for Lachlan is the Cape Epic. Lachlan and Jordan can’t wait to get out in the grape fields and back hills of the Western Cape to show what they can do on rocky singletrack and sunbleached fireroads. They are going to ride their hearts out and enjoy their time at the race.

“I love going to South Africa,” Lachlan says. “The way the days unfold at Cape Epic, it is fun that you can race early in the morning and have the afternoons to hang out and soak it all in a bit. Up in the elite field, it is a really intense, crazy environment, but then you have a few thousand other riders all behind with their own goals and ambitions, all camping together and trying to get through the week together. Whether it goes well or it doesn’t, I am always excited to race the Cape Epic.”

Good luck, Lachlan and Jordan! We’re excited to see how you two do.

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