Great Britain Cycling Team Olympic Academy athlete Kenta Gallagher has revealed his return to competition at the opening round of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will feel like starting again.
Gallagher is one of three Great Britain riders who will compete in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, with Grant Ferguson and Iain Paton also set to race in the under-23 category.
The Scotsman is entering his final year in the age group and a season founded on considerable change awaits.
In 2014 there will be no focus on the eliminator discipline but instead a series of cross-country world cup rounds in addition to the European and world championships plus a home Commonwealth Games.
In 2013 Gallagher won his first world cup in the eliminator discipline, however described his cross-country performances as frustrating, his races often coming 12 hours later against fresh opponents.
“Last year the eliminators played a big part in the result of my cross-country races so I didn’t really pull through in any cross-country races like I wanted to. So the fact I’m not doing eliminator hopefully gives me a bit of a chance of a better result.
“Not having to prepare myself for two races, focusing all my energy on one day in the weekend, it makes it easier to train.”
A change in routine, compounded by a lack of high quality racing prior to the opening world cup leaves Gallagher feeling lost when it comes to predicting his performance - with perhaps his best guess based upon what happened one year previous in Pietermaritzburg.
“Last year I raced the eliminator here but got a puncture straight away so I saved a lot of my energy and was 16th in the cross-country.
"So this year hopefully I can do better than that but it’s hard to say, I just want to go out there, see what happens and set a benchmark for the next world cups."
There are nine rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup that feature cross-country racing in the 2014 season.