Bittersweet day for Costa as he finishes second again in Worlds junior TT

18-year-old American signs two-year deal with Merckx’s Axeon Development Team

Adrien Costa’s role in placing two US riders on the junior men’s time trial podium at the World Championships is a point of pride for the 18-year-old from California, although as last year’s runner-up he was hoping to move a spot better this year.

Unfortunately for Costa, this year’s gold medal went to German Leo Appelt, who stormed over the 29.9km course in 37:45.01, 17 seconds faster than Costa and 59 seconds better than bronze medallist Brandon McNulty of Arizona.

Tuesday’s performance, which came on the heels of Monday’s one-two finish by US junior women Chloe Dygert and Emma White, was a double-edged sword for Costa.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” he said. “But it shows that I’m consistent and I’m able to be there on a course that didn’t really suit me perfectly, so I have to be happy with it.”

Costa set the sixth-fastest time at the first intermediate time check, but then kicked into high gear and was second fastest at the next two checks, coming in just two seconds behind Appelt on the third. He lost another 15 seconds over the final section of the course, however.

“I knew it would be really, really easy to start too hard,” he said. “So I made sure I started easy and was comfortable in the first part of the race. My time trial started coming back the first time across the [Robert E. Lee] bridge, and from there I just gave it full gas. We’ll look at the pacing and stuff afterwards.”

Appelt, by comparison, set the fastest time on each of the three checks on his way to the win, which he said caught even himself by surprise.

There were no surprises for Costa on the course. As expected, the headwind over the exposed bridge was the toughest part of the course.

“You had to keep the power on the whole way and just kind of cruise through it,” he said. “It was a fun course.”

The highlight for Costa was the final climb up Governor Street and then onto the finishing straight, where a partisan crowd was waiting to cheer him to the line.

“It was the highlight of the TT for me,” he said.

Costa will turn his attention now to Saturday’s junior men’s road race. He said he’s not sure about his personal chances to collect a rainbow jersey there, but he believes the US team has a good chance on the Richmond course.

“We’re all motivated to race at home, so, yeah, it should be a good show,” he said. “It’s the kind of course that lends itself to aggression and breakaways and stuff, and that’s what our team does well. We’re excited for it.”

No mater what happens in the road race, Costa, who rode for California Giant-Specialized this season, will jump to the Continental level next year with Axel Merckx’s Axeon Development Team, which added Cal Giant and Hagens Berman as sponsors for 2016.

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