Thursday, 14 May 2015

Adrien Costa recently finished second in Course de la Paix, helping his teammate Brandon McNulty to win the overall. Young American answered few of my questions about his recent performances, pressure, season goals and why he loves the Giro.

First of all, congrats for your recent stage win and second place in GC during the Peace Race. As a team you rode pretty much a perfect race. 

Thank you! I don't think we could have imagined this race going nearly as well as it did- not only first American to ever win, but 1-2 overall, sprint and mountain jerseys, and team GC. Is there anything else we missed? 

Can you tell us more how the race unfold ? Especially the queen stage to Zinnwald. Seems like you and Brandon McNulty caused some big gaps! 

 We had the race very much under control from start to finish. On stage 1, we stayed in front and out of trouble and finished safely with 3 in the top 15. In the TT, Brandon had an amazing ride and we were able to secure 1st and 2nd overall. The evening 2b stage was again pretty controlled as a lot of teams were riding for the sprint. Zinnwald was the big day that we were looking forward to. Coming into the first climb, it was very fast and lots of fighting for wheels, so I came into it in the first couple spots. I had my teammate Ethan set a hard pace through the town, then I took over and held a solid pace to the top of the climb, accelerating over the last km to bring the group down to 5. Brandon and I forced the others to rotate, but we were caught by a group right before the 2nd time up the climb. Again, I went to the front at a sustained pace and by the last km of the ascent, only the Russian rider was left with Brandon and I. I was still feeling good and wanted to drop the Russian, so I forged on ahead. I crested the climb with 10 seconds or so, and saw that Brandon had been able dropped the Russian. I waited and then we smashed it all the way to the finish and the rest is history. 

It was your first big race with Brandon as a teammate. How did you both cooperate being the strongest riders in the race ? 

The cooperation was never a problem because as his teammate, I respected his yellow jersey and did everything I could to protect it, and as a second priority protect my spot and give us some more time buffer. So in that sense there was no problem at all. Having the two of us up there made the race that much easier, because there was always a back up in case one of us missed a move, had some bad luck, or faltered... thankfully none of which happened! 

For your second year as a junior you have joined California Giant Cycling Team. Can you tell us more about the team and why did you choose this one ? 

I joined Cal Giant because it is a very well reputed American development/ amateur team that has proven over the years to be an amazing stepping stone into the pro ranks. They are also local for me in California so having teammates and staff nearby makes things a lot easier and more pleasant as well. Cal Giant also works very closely with Specialized, and this is not only advantageous to us riders equipment wise, but also with all the knowledge that such a cutting edge company possesses. 

Riding for both California Giant Cycling Team and US national team for juniors give you unique chance to compete in both US national series races and biggest junior races. How would you compare them ? 

Yes, it is definitely a great combination between racing some good US races in the early season then complementing that with a couple months in Europe. Thankfully I have been able to have quite a bit of "euro" experience in the last few years thanks to USA Cycling on top of what I can do in the States, which helps tremendously in progressing towards the pro ranks. The style of racing is very different and hard to compare, so while it may be physiologically much harder to win a race like Redlands or Gila, winning something like the Peace Race requires immense ability to stay in front, out of trouble, make the right tactical calls, etc on top of the physical demands. 

What are your next goals for this season ? Are you going to defend your title in Tour de Pays de Vaud ? 

 Pays de Vaud is for sure the next goal of the season. I was super happy to see it upgraded to Nations' Cup this year and it truly deserves it- fun and innovative courses, professionally run, and really great organizers made it a race to remember last year and I hope to be able to defend the title. After that, I hope the team and I can be good at Trofeo Karlsberg, then it's back to the new continent for Nationals and l'Abitibi. 

Many fans, journalists or even riders believes that you are one of the greatest cycling prospects in recent years. Do you feel the pressure during the races, especially in juniors ?

 If anything, hearing that people think that of me humbles me and motivates me further to reach my goals and aspirations. The only pressure I feel to perform comes from within, and while I can obviously be disappointed when a race does not go like I wished it did, there is never the feeling of deceiving anyone or not living up to expectations. I have been blessed with a really positive support system and feel like I can thrive and reach my maximum potential. 

This year we have World Champs in you country, in Richmond. As a silver medalist in time trial from Ponferrada, the TT is an obvious goal but what do you think about the road race ? Do you see yourself as a contender for this type of course ? 

The TT for me is the big goal of the season, so I haven't given the road race very much thought yet. I've seen the course and although it is not particularly suited to my strengths, I am sure there will be an incredibly strong USA team lining up, and we will have the support of thousands of American fans behind us, so I think there is the possibility for a really good result there. 

 How would you describe yourself as a rider ? Tell us more about your characteristic.

I would definitely classify myself as a climber that can time trial pretty well. I really like long steady efforts, which can be pretty rare in junior races, but I don't ever let a course limit what I can do for myself or for the team, and always try to use what there is to my advantage. 

 As a strong climber and time trialist your dream race should be Tour de France but maybe you have some other races that you hope to win one day ? 

Honestly the racing at the a race like the Giro d'Italia, where every day is a battle, really inspires me. The passion of the fans, the love for the sport, the incredible places the route takes the riders, the attrition of the race, all of that creates this magical atmosphere to which I am super attracted. That being said, I don't think anyone would mind winning the Tour! 

 The season is still long way from the end but I'm sure you're looking forward for next year already which will be the first one in u23 category. What are your expectations ? Would you like to ride the biggest races like Tour de l'Avenir already in 2016 ? 

Next year I just hope to continue to be able to race in Europe with the national team and do well in races that aren't suited to my characteristics. I think really learning how to be a great racer, not just physically but tactically, being in the right place at the right time, saving energy, and everything else is super important as a young cyclist trying to make it to the pros. That being said, if the opportunity presents itself to ride a big race like Avenir or one of the Northern American tours that might suit me more, then I won't back down from that challenge either.  

You are riding in junior category for a second year doing a lot of events in different countries. If you have to drop one name of a rider you rode against that have bright future in cycling who would that be ? 

That's a really tough question in the juniors because a rider that is amazing one year might be getting dropped the next, and vice versa. The Danes have always been very strong, and last year in the Worlds time trial Lennard Kamna was incredible, but one rider that has really impressed me is my USA teammate McNulty. At the Peace Race he showed that he is at an extremely high level, and I'm excited to race with him more this year and expect big things from him not only the rest of this season but in the years to come as well.

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