Young American Costa ‘grateful and honored’ to ride for Etixx

The 19-year-old has ridden to impressive results this season, including a runner-up at the Tour of Utah.

OVIEDO, Spain (VN) — Hot off a third-place result at the Tour de l’Avenir, Adrien Costa is set to join Etixx – Quick-Step as a stagiaire for three European races to have his first major taste in the pro peloton.

The 19-year-old American is among three stagiaire riders to join the Belgian outfit for the reminder of the 2016 season. Team officials confirmed Costa will race the Tour of Britain (September 4-11), GP de Wallonie (September 14), and Primus Classic Impanis (September 17).

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“I will be looking to help the guys as much as I can while learning as much as I can about the next level,” Costa said. “I am extremely grateful and honored to be able to see the inside of a WorldTour team and get some exposure to that level. There’s really no pressure. I just want to keep having fun.”

If riding the way Costa has been during 2016 is “fun,” it will be interesting to see how he handles racing with the elite pros in Europe.

By any measure, Costa has had an impressive season with Axeon Hagens Berman. He became the first American to win the Tour de Bretagne, rode to second at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, and capped it off with a stage win and third overall at the Tour de l’Avenir. Teammate Neilson Powless won the final stage in the Alps as the new generation of Americans continues to score impressive results.

“I think [Costa] has had one of the best years an under-23 rider can ask for,” USA Cycling under-23 manager Michael Sayers said. “I hope he is satisfied with his season in general. Getting on the podium here is an incredible accomplishment and traditionally, anybody in the top 10 at Tour de l’Avenir goes to the WorldTour.”

A two-time world junior time trial runner-up, Costa will likely ride at the Qatar world championships in October. Costa will race at least one more season in the U23 ranks before looking for a professional contract.

No other Axeon riders secured stagiaire rides this fall, but three are joining WorldTour teams for 2017. U.S. national road champion Greg Daniel and Portuguese U23 champion Ruben Guerreiro are both bound for Trek – Segafredo, while the highly touted Tao Geoghegan Hart is going to Team Sky.