Austria's Felix Gall out-sprints two rivals to claim the rainbow jersey in the junior men's race in Richmond.

Austria’s Felix Gall came out on top in a rainy junior men’s road race in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday. The 17-year-old powered away from a small lead group in the lumpy finale, at the end of a 128.9km race. Gall’s advantage just barely held out over a chasing Clement Betouigt-Suire of France and Dane Rasmus Pedersen, who came home second and third, respectively. The trio finished 10 seconds ahead of a small group that fought for minor placings.

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Although it was a rainy morning in Richmond, American Adrien Costa said it didn’t affect the race too significantly. “The normal road parts weren’t bad actually, I was able to make up a lot of ground in the corners, because us Americans, we’re used to the big wide sweeping crit corners. And then on Libby Hill there were a few times where my back wheel would kind of fish tail around.”

Costa, coming off a silver-medal performance in the junior time trial championship, was among the favorites to contend in the road race as well. Things were looking good for the 17-year-old from Bend, Oregon heading into the waning moments of the race, but the legs just weren’t there in the end.

“I was trying to attack early to break things up,” Costa said. “I wasn’t feeling super good all race: I think with the time trial I still wasn’t able to recover super well. I don’t know, I guess we had lots of bad luck with my teammates, I’m not sure what happened. I know Ethan [Reynolds] went down and there were mechanicals and stuff.

“I was kind of isolated so I decided to see what I could do at the end and not waste energy early. A lot of teams had three or four guys still in the front group so it was hard for me to do much. I led up Libby Hill in the last lap with a group up the road and then up 23rd street I kind of fell back, I don’t know. I just didn’t have the legs.”

As the exhausted field trickled across the line bit by bit after Gall and Betouigt-Suire, Costa ultimately came home 18th, making him the highest-placed American in the event.

The way the final few kilometers broke up the juniors’ peloton, Costa expects something similar in the men’s elite race Sunday.

“It’ll be interesting,” he said. “Especially depending on the weather. I definitely think it’ll blow up because the race is twice as long as ours. It’ll be interesting to watch for sure.”

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