Tom Pidcock, racing in his first elite UCI MTB World Cup last weekend in Albstadt, had the distinct disadvantage of starting on the back row. But the Ineos Grenadiers rider blasted through the bunch and claimed fifth place - two spots ahead of cyclo-cross rival Mathieu van der Poel.
On Sunday's second round of the World Cup in Nové Město, Pidcock will start on the front row of the grid and hopes he can parlay that into a better finish.
"I think for sure it will make such a big difference," Pidcock said of his improved grid spot after being narrowly beaten in Friday's short track by Van der Poel.
"For the first part of the race, I can sit back and reserve as much as I can. Last week I was fighting every second. Normally when I start on the front I go backwards, but we'll see how my start is."
Pidcock's impressive debut in the short track came despite a gear problem that saw him lead out the sprint, only to have Van der Poel fly past before the line as he ran out of gears.
"It was a little annoying because I couldn't get in my biggest gear, that's why I was spinning so fast," Pidcock explained. "I had to change bikes last minute because my suspension broke, so the mechanics didn't have time to check it [before the race].
"I was feeling really good. I am pretty happy with how I felt. I was thinking I wouldn't feel so good in this distance compared to the Olympic distance because it's more explosive. But I think this track suits me well with the big climb."
Pidcock wrote off the equipment problems to inexperience, this being his debut elite campaign but also Ineos Grenadiers' first foray into mountain biking.
"I think if we didn't have any problems it would be abnormal. I'm relatively inexperienced and so is the team, so we're all still learning," Pidcock said.
"We have to work around it and hopefully someday we'll get it all right."
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