AFTER racing in the bright red of Drapac Cycling, Lachlan Norris is switching colours to compete with Team Raleigh in 2013.
The Barkers Creek cycling star, who has excelled on the mountain tracks and the roads, will join the British-based team this weekend.
A squad of 14 in the continental team includes Horsham’s Mark O’Brien and Sam Witmitz, who were recently opponents of Norris in the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour.
An incredible run for Norris in 2012 included winning the Tour of Tasmania.
That result had many tongues wagging and caught the interest of various teams.
It was Team Raleigh, which will include cyclists from England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and France that recruited him.
“To race in Europe was always a goal,” Norris said before yet another climb at Mount Alexander.
“This year’s racing is a challenge I am really looking forward to.”
The team’s campaign will include Tour Hautvaar in France, the Tour of Normandy, and possibly the Tour of Great Britain.
“A lot of our racing will be one-day classics, especially the Premier Series.”
The build-up for Norris in recent weeks has included racing to 15th place for the Jayco-VIS Apollo team in the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour and last Sunday’s road race at the national championships in Buninyong.
It’s on the mountains where Norris has become even stronger in the past 12 months.
“I usually ride up Mount Alexander two or three times a week.
“It’s a great training circuit, and not far from home.”
Distances to the Mount Alexander summit are 15km or 18km.
“The climb from the north side is much steeper, the southern is longer.”
Quite a lot of training in 2012 was spent on the climbs near Bright with Drapac team-mate Darren Lapthorne.
“The support from Drapac Racing was incredible,” said Norris.
“I have learnt so much about racing and training from being in the team.”
He also endured highs and some lows during eight world championship campaigns in mountain bike racing.
A science graduate at Melbourne University, Norris has had great support from parents Neil and Leanne since he started cycling with the Rocky Rises MTB Club.
Team Raleigh’s launch in England on Monday coincides with Lachlan’s 26th birthday.
He will be hoping to celebrate more success as Raleigh’s season rolls on.