At 17, Adrien Costa is the American junior time trial champion and silver medallist in the same discipline at the World Championships last year. Unlike most people his age, he’s firmly focused on chasing his dream job of becoming a professional cyclist and hoping it will become a reality in the next few years.
His upward trajectory thus far indicates that he might be following in the footsteps of previous US junior time trial medallists such as Lawson Craddock and Ian Boswell. USA cycling has enjoyed a rich crop of talent coming through in recent years through Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen and Andrew Talansky to name but a few.
Asked if he’d like to be part of that generation some time, he tells Cyclingnews, “The new wave of talented American cyclists that have risen through the ranks, many through similar programs that I am currently working with, has been extremely motivating and exciting to follow as a young American racer. However, I don't think I can say I am part of that new wave, because I have not yet reached the level of successes on the professional international level as those names. That doesn't mean I am not striving to be part of it one day.”
Although only a first year in the junior ranks, he lost out on the gold medal in the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, by only 44 seconds. With the event being held on US soil this season, Costa, who will ride domestically for California-Giant this season, immediately lists going for gold as one of his objectives.
“This season will be focused heavily on the time trial at the Worlds. With it being in the US, I have to realize that this is an opportunity of a lifetime to not only race but shoot for a result in your home country with all its fans behind you.
“That being said, I still have other races I'd like to do well at, such as various Nations' Cups or domestic NRC races that I think are logical to target with a view on development and jumping up into the amateurs next year. Additionally, anytime I show up to a race, I'm aiming for a good result for myself or for the team, so if I'm able to set up teammates for results throughout the season, that will only add to my season's success,” a visibly focused Costa says.
He got a small taste of the WorldTour recently when his management agency Corso Sports Marketing arranged a stay with Cannondale-Garmin for him to see what the life of a top level professional cyclist is like.
“I was lucky enough to be invited to the camp in Mallorca for two weeks, and it was an incredibly valuable and honestly, quite dream-like experience. For two weeks I got to eat, ride, stretch, work on core stability, and just hang out and chat with guys you only ever see on TV and in the magazines.”
He added: "I met Andre Cardoso and Ted King who showed me the ropes and taught me about the professional cyclist's life on and off the bike, as well as how important it is to make sure you realize that important things exist in life outside of racing your bike. After that camp, I headed straight to Cal Giant camp in California where I got to meet my awesome new teammates, get in some more, good group riding, get my equipment for the season dialled, and in general just have a blast joking around with the guys.
“There's always something around the corner, and I am more than stoked to start my season with the team this weekend at Chico Stage Race. That reminds me... maybe I should open that dusty old textbook and start catching up on some homework and studying,” he says as he realizes that he is still after all, just 17 years old.