Adrien Costa, one of the most promising riders in American cycling, will take the remainder of the 2017 season off racing, saying that he does not want to rush into his riding career.
The 19-year-old has been racing with the US-based Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team and achieved some notable results in 2016, including winning the Tour de Bretagne overall and placing second overall at the Tour of Utah. He spent the latter part of 2016 as a stagiaire for the Etixx-QuickStep team, and rode for them in the Tour of Britain.
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Now, he says he wants to focus on other things in his life, to try and find a balance between cycling and his other interests and development.
“This was an incredibly tough decision for me to make, but for my personal development I think it’s the best option,” Costa wrote on the Axeon Hagens Berman website on Friday.
“I want to take time to do other things that I’ve always been passionate about and finding a new balance between the sport I love and the rest of my life.”
“I dream of achieving so much in cycling, but at my age it’s important to remember that I have time on my side and that the worst thing I could do is rush myself and ultimately burn out before I’m ready.
“I’ll take the rest of the season to study and travel in Europe, and give myself the time and the space that I need to prepare myself for the future,” said the Californian.
“There’s so much I want to achieve, not just in cycling but in life in general, and I want to make sure that I make the right calls at this stage of my career.
“I feel like I’m lucky to be able to take this time, and that’s thanks to the incredible people I have around me. I am so grateful for the support and understanding I’ve received from the team, and I look forward to returning to cycling as soon as I’m ready.”
The team, which is headed up by former pro racer Axel Merckx, said that it “fully supports Costa in his decision and remains focused in its efforts to develop the best young cyclists in the world”.
The team has nurtured many young riders in the past, including current WorldTour pros Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Taylor Phinney (BMC), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) and Ian Boswell (Team Sky).
Costa has not ruled out a return to cycling, but other promising young riders have decided to retire early in the past few seasons after finding that the life of a pro cyclist is not for them. WorldTour-level riders Cameron Meyer, Campbell Flakemore and Carter Jones all retired in their 20s.