Talk With Steven

Talk With Steven is a forum for cycling fans and interested individuals to submit questions to Steven. Just click Submit Questions to send your questions to Steven. Steven will select questions and answer them through video or script. These will be posted for fans to enjoy.

Interview: Steven Cozza

By Luke Allingham
Date: March 8, 2012
The Daily Peloton / Pro Cycling News
www.http://dailypeloton.com


Interview with Steven Cozza who recently put his career on hold due to health problems. Steven rode for the teams of Jonathan Vaughters and joined German Team NetApp in 2011.

Steven Cozza started his career as a professional cyclist at the age of twenty-two, when he joined Jonathan Vaughter’s Pro Continental squad, Slipstream Powered by Chipotle. He rode with the American based team until the end of 2010. At the beginning of 2011, the young cyclist signed for German based Professional Continental team NetApp. He rode in Team NetApp colors until March, 2012 when Cozza put a pause on his career due to health problems.

During his five year career Cozza had some impressive results. In 2005 he took a victory at U.S U-23 National Time Trial Championships. During his first year with Vaughter’s team (2007), Cozza won the Best Young Rider’s Classification at the Tour of Missouri, the team also took the Team Classification

Steven Cozza (Garmin-Slipstream) was in the breakaway for most the race at the 2009 Paris-Roubaix. Photo © Scott Cozza

How did you get interested or started in the sport of cycling? How old were you when you started?

I started off BMX racing. Then switched over to the mtb when I was 12. Friends got me interested in mtb racing. Then I broke my shoulder in a high school wresting accident so I had to ride my mtb on the road for 1 year. From then on I was hooked. That was in ’99 when Lance Armstrong won his first TDF. That really inspired me.

 

What advice would you give to a amateur cyclist, who dreams of becoming a professional cyclist?

Keep dreaming and having fun.

 

You raced with Team NetApp until just recently when you put a hold on your career, what did you experience with team while you raced with them? What were some of the good and bad moments with the team?

It was pretty interesting going from JVs Team Garmin to a German team. Completely opposite in terms of personality and vibe. NetApp is a new team and they are growing very fast much like Garmin did. The environment was extremely serious and strict much like how it was as an U-23 on the US National team. I think all teams would be a lot better if they would relax, loosen up and have some fun.

 

If you had to choose your favorite pro cyclist from any era, who would it be? From the current peloton?

Well all my previous favorites have tested positive or are being investigated so they are out. Its sad. Growing up, my walls were covered with Pro Cyclist posters. Since then all those posters have been thrown in the trash because every single one has been charged or suspected of doping. My favorite athletes now are all the new up and comers like, Matthew Busche, Brent Bookwalter, Andrew Talansky, Peter Stetina and Tejay Van Garderen.

NetAppTrainingCampN2012-vi
Steven Cozza at the team NetApp 2012 training camp.
Photo © Scott Cozza

What music do you keep on your playlist?

Bush, Tom Petty, Incubus, and the Spice Girls.

 

In 2005 you took first place at the U.S U-23 National Time Trial Championships – tell us about that victory and what
your feeling on it are.

It was cool. The day before I had raced off the front of the road race the entire day, so to win the next days Time Trial and by such a large margin was cool.

 

At the 2007 Tour of Missouri you won the Best Young Rider’s Classification and your team won the Teams Classification. Tell us what you remember about that race and what your experience was.

Its great. As a team we were having so much fun and racing our butts off.

 

As I mentioned in a previous question, you recently called a halt to your professional career – what made you decide to do that? Do you ever think you will return to the top level?

I had been struggling with stomach troubles for some time now. I was finally properly diagnosed with Colitis. Since being diagnosed it has been a learning process to learn how to prevent flair ups. I no longer could race as I use to and it became extremely frustrating to be controlled by health issues. I am giving myself sometime to do other things in life and I hope one day soon I will have a grip on my stomach troubles so that I can return to racing bikes.

 

Now that you’ve stopped racing, what will you be spending most of your time doing nowadays?

Working, kite boarding, kayaking, playing with new puppy, fishing, hiking and camping with my Fiancé, Jen, and all the things I couldn’t do while racing bikes.

 

If you could thank anyone who was involved with your cycling life who would it be and why?

My Dad and Mom who gave me my first racing bikes and always stood by my side supporting me through good and bad times. I also thank Jen for helping me stay strong while I was having to race with health issues and putting up with me when I was depressed and not the person she once new. Big thanks to my coach Dario from Whole Athlete for coaching me for 7 years and guiding me to incredible fitness and lastly I thank all my loyal fans who have supported and cheered me on this entire time. I would also like to thank the coach of Team Swift, Laura Charameda, for introducing me to cycling and pointing me in the right direction.

 

Is there anything else you think we should talk about or anything else you’d like to mention?

Yes!!! My Race for Kids fan club is still going on. You can become a Race for Kids fan club member by going to www.stevencozza.com and choosing a child’s charity of your choose. Its also tax deductible. Just a month ago my 2 year old God Son, Brody, was diagnosed with Leukemia. He’s been supper strong but needs financial support. You can donate to Brody by going to www.stevencozza.com. Or you can mail a check to.

Race for Kids

POB 2752
Petaluma
CA
94952
USA
A Global Program helping children world wide
Please make checks out to Race for Kids and put at the bottom for Brody Tatman.

After we receive your donation you will become an official member and earn the chance to win cool cycling things throughout the year. Follow Steven on his Twitter or website

RetroDailyPelotonLogologo-viCelebrating our tenth year!


February 10. 2011


“I’m living a dream.”

Bret Richard of Handlebar Mustache Apparel www.hbstache.com has a chat with Steven Cozza. Steven’s answers are thought provoking, sincere, sometimes cute, and always candid with a flare of humor. Enjoy the interview!

Giving Back:

1. What was the first charity or cause that called you to get involved?
It wasn’t one thing that called me to get involved. My parents raised me in believing how important it is to not just think of ourselves but others as well especially those in need of help.

2. Where did the idea for Race for Kids come from?
After traveling and racing all over the world being cheered on by so many kids on the side of the road, I decided I wanted to give back to them. I believe that every kid deserves a fair chance in this world, so I want to do all I can to help as many kids as possible live a better life.

3. What has been the best/most touching moment so far with Race for Kids.
Meeting my 3 year old friend, Aaron Phelps, who is currently living with SMA. Attached is a photo of Aaron. Also, my dad has some photos of me and him together.


Little Aaron Phelps
is one of my heros

Cycling:

1. Most kids dream of being a Pro athlete, but when did you realize you had a gift on the bike?
I never realized I had a gift on the bike and I still don’t know if I do, but that doesn’t matter to me. Its what I want to do. I have set goals for myself and all my life I have worked my butt of to achieve my goals. First it was getting through school and now its pursuing my dreams in cycling. Next? That’s top secret. Your will is your greatest tool for reaching your goals in life.

2. You have some different feelings about race radio from many of your peers; can you share you views on the topic?
I personally don’t mind if we race with or without a radio. To me, its not the end of the world. I think it has turned more into a power struggle between the UCI and the riders. It’s too bad it has to be a child/parent kind of relationship because most the racers I’ve spoken with in the peloton actually say they are more happy racing without radios. For me, I can focus more, get in the zone and have less distractions without a radio. The radios have never helped keep me safe, nor have they helped me tactically. Why don’t we ask Eddy Merckx and racers of the past how it was racing without radios? I’m sure they will have no complaints what so ever.

3. If you could win just one these races which would you choose The Ronde’, Roubaix, or a Grand Tour Stage?
Any of them would put a smile on my face.

4. Most fans know you as a Classics guy, but you have strong TT back ground. It’s been a while since you got to go all out in TT; are you looking froward to this part of your new role?
Ya I was really great in the TTs up until 2009. I look forward to pushing the limits again this year.

5. Any funny stories of being on a European based team that you can share with us?
Yes plenty of funny stories. I am rooming with my Spanish teammate Jesus Del Nero at the Mallorca Challenge. Every day is bike racing as well as Spanish and English lessons. It is so funny trying to communicate with him. It is like we are both 2 year olds trying to get our points across with hand gestures and Spanglish.

6. Who are you BFFs in the Pro Peloton?
I don’t have any BFFs haha. I thought that was a Paris Hilton thing.

7. We gotta ask, are we gonna see the stache this year?
Maybe.

8. Who were the riders that influenced you as you studied Pro Cycling?
No one.

9. We know all Pro’s are tough, but besides the obvious (Jens Voigt) who are hardest of hard men in the current peloton?
Dan Martin the little Irish Man is.

10. Any races you haven’t gotten to ride in that are on your cycling bucket list?
The TDF of course.

 

Life/other:

1. How does one meet and go out with a Podium girl?
You should start off with looking like a mechanic. When Jen (my fiancee) and I met, she figured I was a mechanic because of the mustache. And then you got to shock her by getting on the podium. I passed her a note on the stage at sign-in the day after I accepted the Best Young Rider jersey at the Tour of Missouri. We kept in touch after I flew back to Europe and the rest is history.

Tour-of-Missouri-Jen-Steven-2009-300x201

2. Tell us about your upcoming charity ride.
Its called the Giro Bello Classic and 100% of the money goes to two very important charities that I have chosen. One is for Myeloma and Blood Cancer research and the other is to eradicate the Polio disease in poor parts of the world. Limited to 500 entrants and filling up fast. Check out.
www.girobello.com

3. We know you are an outdoors enthusiast – If there was a Survivor season for Pro cyclists, what special skills would help you win?
Me being an Eagle scout would help me along with my insane will to survive any situation or challenge and to never give up.

4. You have been to Everest base camp, how did that come about? Any plans on climbing Everest when you retire?
I have always loved hiking. Everest is the mother of all mountains, so just going to base camp at 18,500 feet was incredible. I hope to go back one day with Jen and hike the Annapurna circuit.


Steven with Dad, Scott at Mt. Everest
Base Camp October 29, 2004

5. Obviously not a pressing issue, but after you retire from cycling, what are your career/life plans? Top secret.

6. Outside of politics and religion we feel this is one of the more polarizing questions we can ask: The band Cold Play good or evil? Ha Cold Play. Terrible. Can’t stand their music one bit.

7. If you could go to dinner/have a drink with 5 living people who would they be?
Ali, the other four would be homeless people that I’d treat to dinner


“Muhammad Ali
A Courageous
Human Being”

“A Hero of
Social Justice”

“A Great Warrior Inside
The Ring and Outside
The Ring”


Interview: Steven Cozza – NetApp Team Pro Rider

Steven Cozza on moving on to NetApp, the 2011 season and the cycling press…

mallorca202011_9-vi
Team NetApp climb at this weeksMallorca camp
Photo courtesy Team NetApp

www.dailypeloton.com Pro Cycling News

Interview by Vaughn Trevi

January 31, 2011

If Steven Cozza, made his bones racing in Italy and Europe as a junior, born to a family of Italian heritage in Petaluma in the Sonoma valley in Northern California on March 3, 1985, Steven will turn 26 in a month. Cozza started racing Laura Charameda in 200 Team Swift Junior Developmental Team and progressed in the next 3 years racing with Danny Van Haute in in Europe with the USA Junior team at the age of 16 and in Belgium with the USA U23 team.

His progress has been steady since. He joined Jonathan Vaughter’s development team TIIA Cref at 20 years old in June of 2006; and stayed with the team through its evolution from – Slipstream-Chipotle (2007-08) to ProTour outfit as Garmin-Slipstream 2009 and Garmin-Transitions 2010.

Last fall signed with Div II team NetApp based in Hamburg, Germany sponsored by the American company NetApp, that creates innovative storage systems and software.

His best successes came in 2007 when he won a stage at the Volta Chiahuawa in Mexico as well as a year later at the Volta a Portugal and the Tour of Missouri where he won the Best Young Riders classification. Of course we shouldn’t miss that he stood on the top of the podium with his Garmin teammates after after winning team time trials and was the top American (23rd) at the World Championships in Varese, Italy in 2008.

Steven is a talented all-rounder. a more than able climber, capable of a fast time trial and an aggressive rider at home in breaks in a one day classic or stage races. Cozza has gained invaluable experience in the past eleven years that will be an invaluable asset to the NetApp team in 2011 as he steps into a leadership role.

Vaughn Trevi: So having met your team mates at this point how is the ambience at the camp?

Steven Cozza: The team is great. I am really happy racing here at NetApp. The entire group including the staff and management all have respect for each other. I think to produce a successful team the riders must respect each other but more importantly respect and get respect from the boss. With this kind of atmosphere we are all prepared to go into battle as one and leave no man behind except for the competition.

2007CozzaToCAPrologue-vi
2007 Tour of California Prologue
(10thn at 22 years old)
Photo © 2011 Mark Adkison Ph.D.

V.T.: Who are your favorite riders to train with?

S. Cozza: I enjoy training with the entire team. I live in Spain and so does Jesus Del Nero so its fun having that in common with someone on the team. I’m also Italian by blood and Cesare on the team is Italian. That is also pretty cool to have an Italian teammate. There’s 8 or so different nationalities on this team. Pretty cool.

V.T.: ow is your early season training going? How are things going at camp for you and the team in Mallorca this week?

S. Cozza: Training this early season has gone great. My coach Dario Fredrick from Whole Athlete works closely with me and always gives me a great training program.


2008 Steven Cozza riding to 4th place
in the ITT at the USA Championships
Photo © 2011 Kurt Jambretz -Action Images

I am a strong supporter of clean racing and will always race as a clean cyclist. I love the sport too much to dishonor it by cheating as others have done. Winning means a lot to me, but not at the expense of the sport I love or of my own integrity as a person and a cyclist. Steven Cozza

VT: Do you plan on coming into the season with a roar or aiming to peak at the tour of California now that the team has been confirmed?

S. Cozza: I definitely would like to start the season off on the right food. My goals for the early season are het Volk, 3 days of De Panne, the tour of Turkey and of course the Tour of California.

VT: When I hear your name I remember your aggressive riding and activity in breaks… a guy who is willing to go for it all in the long break with a group as as you did with new team mate Jan Barta at Paris-Bourges or your solo pursuit of a break at the tour of Romandie in 2009… and of course a mustache. This may sound stupid, but what keeps you motivated out there in that situation?

S. Cozza: I do enjoy racing aggressively. For one its the best way to get stronger. You also can create a lot of opportunity for yourself this way. I enjoy putting on a good show for the fans. We are entertainers after all. I get the most satisfaction from racing my bike hard and I will continue to race this way till I stop cycling.


Cozza leads the break at the 2008 USA Road Championships
Photo © 2011 Kurt Jambretz -Action Images

V.T.: Do you just like to be out there making the race instead of sitting on?

S. Cozza: Ya for sure.

V.T.: Will you have more opportunities like these this year with team NetApp; can we expect more of the same bold moves this season?

S. Cozza: Ya I believe so. It all depends on my head and legs. I want to win some races this year and its not going to be beating cavendish in a group sprint so I have to be a little more creative.

V.T.: What is your favorite European Race? American Race?

S. Cozza: I raced Amstel for the first time last year and really loved it. I’d have to say I enjoy any race I can do.


Paris-Roubaix 2010
Photo © 2011 Fotoreporter Sirotti

V.T.: The one race you would like to win in the future.

S. Cozza: Any of them sounds good to me.

V.T.: If you had to describe yourself as a rider and your talents how would you do it?

S. Cozza: I would say I’m a Bold cyclist that creates his own opportunities. I’m ready to tap into that again this year.

V.T.: Do you have a rider in the past that you admire and would like to emulate during your career? A current rider.

S. Cozza: Jens Voigt is pretty dam hard to beat. If I can be half the cyclist he is I’d be pretty dam proud of myself.

V.T.: Do you think that most cycling sites and mags are too fixated on doping that they fail to report good or worthy news like your Giro Bello benefit ride to the detriment of cycling?

S. Cozza: Ya of course. I think its important these sites bring light to what’s going on because we must not ignore such an important issue but hey come on, don’t need to beat it into the ground. It gets old and repetitive. Report on positive things to please like my www.Girobello.com charity ride with 100% of the money raised going to two very important causes.

V.T.: Do you feel they do justice to riders and teams involved, or are the too often fixed on lies and rumors?

S. Cozza: I think the majority of the stories reported are twisted and distorted. Accuracy is very far away from the bulls eye. Yes on the lies and rumors; that’s exactly what they are.

V.T.: Give me the good, bad and ugly about being a pro cyclist?

S. Cozza: The worst thing about Pro Cycling is I have to live so far away from my family. The 2nd worst thing is I can’t own a dog. And the best thing about it is I get to live my dream. The day its not my dream anymore you won’t hear about me know more. I do have some pretty cool plans for when cycling comes to an end one day.

V.T.: You do a lot of work for causes on your website, Giro Bella Ride, Race for Kids Fan Club, and you Fun for Kids section… I see there is another side to Steve Cozz most might not be familiar with. Did your coming up on the Team Swift program influence your doing these activities for kids?

S. Cozza: I’ve always loved giving back and helping others. I believe as humans it is the rent we pay for living on this planet. We must do all we can to help others. Its our duty from the day we are born to the day we die.

V.T.: Tell us a bit about your Simplon bike you and the team will be riding.

S. Cozza: The Simplon bike is hands down the best bike I have ever ridden. I’m not just saying this because its my teams bike. Its Austrian made and just rides and handles incredibly. Its incredibly stiff yet absorbs all the bumps in the road.

V.T.: Thanks Steven for making the time for this interview while you are at camp. One last thing, will you be riding the Giro Bella in June?

S. Cozza: Yes, I will definitely be there. I’m going to be doing the 200 mile route.

There ya go folks you’re invited to join Cozza on a good long ride on roads he trains on hrough the beitoful Sonoma County wine country, the Bodega Coast, the Geysers and more, all to benefit Rotary’s Polio Plus eradication program and the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research aim to cure blood and bone cancer. Don’t forget to wear your mustache!

A new video of Steven riding on the roads with more details has just been posted on the Giro Bella site with more details of the ride, dinner and expo. Steven may have other pro riders as guests on the ride so stay tuned to the DP for further announcements and register for the ride and book your hotels soon.

Follow Steven Cozza on:
Steven Cozza Website
Facebook + Twitter
Giro Bella Website
Giro Bella Registration
Giro Bella Facebook + Twitter
2011 Giro Bella Announcent
Steven Cozza – Million Dollar “Race for Kids” Club
Team NetApp


Steven Cozza interview: from Garmin to Germany with Team NetApp

by Ed Hood at 3:50 PM EST

New start for 25 year old American rider

T-Mobile went to the wall at the end of 2007 then in 2008 it was ‘goodbye Gerolsteiner.’ Milram – the last of the ‘Big Three’ German Pro Tour teams – succumbed in the autumn of this year.

The Dortmund, Munich and Stuttgart six day races have all fallen by the wayside; German television channels – once providing a rich seam of cycling coverage for those with a good satellite dish – have all but forgotten the sport.

The retirement of Erik Zabel has been a major factor in the steady decline in cycling’s popularity in Germany; but it it’s perhaps the seemingly endless drugs scandals which have hurt the sport most.

In the warm, Latin south of Europe shrugged shoulders greet most ‘doping scandals’ but Northern Europe is more conservative and a saturation point appears to have been reached.

But among the gloom a beacon shines: German Continental outfit NetApp has jumped through the necessary UCI hoops to upgrade to Pro Continental status.

VeloNation caught up with new NetApp recruit, 25 year-old Californian, Steven Cozza (Garmin) to talk about this new ‘mannschaft’ (team.)

Cozza has been with Garmin since the TIAA CREF days of 2006 and still had one year of his contract to run with Jonathan Vaughters’ orange and blue squadra.

But the NetApp opportunity, coupled with the sudden and unexpected influx of riders into Garmin from the defunct Cervelo Test Team and the consequent uncertainties meant the man from Petaluma was off across the Atlantic for 2011.

VeloNation: First off, tell us about the sponsor – what is ‘NetApp,’ Steve?

Steven Cozza: It’s a data storage company from Sunnyvale, California. We’re all in contact with them every day – they store the data for the likes of Yahoo, Face Book and You Tube. One of the main men in the company’s German operation is a big cycling fan and thinks that the sport is a good ‘fit’ for NetApp – it’s a global sport and a global company.

We only have one main sponsor in NetApp and whilst I don’t know the exact team budget, I know that ultimately the team would like to go Pro Tour and ride the Tour de France.

VN: Have the logistics been sorted out for 2011?

SC: We’re on Austrian ‘Simplon’ frames with SRAM Red groupsets. I can’t ride mine yet because of my contractual obligations to Garmin, but they’re nice bikes and I’m looking forward to riding mine for the first time on January 1st. I’ve never ridden SRAM before and I’m excited about trying it.

The clothing is by Belgian company ‘Bioracer’ but again, I can’t ride in it ‘til January first. Our service course is at Kermis in Belgium, close to the German border. Vehicles-wise, I know we have team cars, a truck for the bikes and a camper but I’m not sure about a bus.

Our DS’s are Jens Heppner (15 seasons as a professional, ex German elite road race champion and Tour de France stage winner) and Enrico Poitschke (nine seasons a pro with rides in the Giro, Tour and Vuelta). They’re both young guys and very committed to the their jobs.

All of the soigneurs and mechanics are in place but we don’t need as many staff as Garmin because we only have 17 riders, and usually won’t be riding a dual programme. The team is still in the development stage; it’s a lot like Garmin was back in the beginning when the team was coming together and growing.

VN: How’s the programme panning out?

SC: Being Pro Continental the team has to rely on invites; we had thought that we’d be riding Oman and Qatar but that’s not happening. We’ll start at the Challenge Majorca then head to Spain for one day races. We hope to ride Tirreno-Adriatico which will set us up for working towards the Belgian Classics. We know that the first year will be tough.

VN: When is the first training camp?

SC: We’ve already had a get together at Kermis for photographs to be taken and to let us get to know each other.
But the first serious camp will be in Majorca in January.

VN: What are the team’s goals?

SC: We’re ambitious but we realise we’re underdogs, although the long term goal is to be the next German Pro Tour team and ride the Tour. It’s a very international team with English as the main language. There’s not really a designated team leader, we’ll be riding for whoever is strongest on the day. Erik Baumann, for instance, is one of our strongest riders; he won the espoirs Paris-Roubaix and has ridden the Giro.

Then there are guys like Michael Baer, who is Swiss U23 road champion and former German junior road champion David Hesselbarth. It’s kinda weird thinking about me as a team leader; but one of my roles is definitely to get the young riders pumped up.

VN: All positive stuff at NetApp, but what’s your take on Pegasus?

SC: I hope they get their Pro Continental licence; I have friends on the team – Svein Tuft is a good guy, a strong rider and someone who deserves a good salary and a good schedule.

VN: Is cycling the sport you thought it would be when you turned pro?

SC: Cycling is much different to how I envisaged it would be when I was a youngster – there’s so much to learn when you turn pro. One of the big things is that you have to keep it as fun – as well as your job.

When you have form and you’re going well it real is ‘living the dream.’ But when don’t have good form, you can have the worst moments; there are so many walls to climb – it’s the hardest sport in the world.

But I love it and I’m really looking forward to a fresh start – I have a fresh spirit and motivation for the new team. I love change – that’s why I’m always changing my facial hair!


U.S. Cycling ReportPresented by www.BicycleGroup.com International Bicycling Club

Heroes Among Us

Written by Amy Bush
Friday, 06 August 2010

Beyond the Individual Accomplishments

-by Amy Bush

On October 2nd, 1996, a promising young professional cyclist announced that he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Ultimately, the cancer would spread to his brain and his lungs and threaten his life and his future in the sport. This is a story familiar to almost everyone involved in or follows cycling and all are familiar with the outcome….this young cyclist went on to win 7 consecutive Tour de France and became a beacon of light for those suffering from cancer all over the world. Out of this experience, Lance Armstrong founded the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

The generosity within the peloton goes even deeper and the riders take inspiration from many sources to fuel their racing and the way they live their lives. Steven Cozza, who rides for Garmin-Transitions, has founded the Race for Kids Fan Club which supports disadvantaged children from all walks of life be it those who live in poverty, those with physical or mental disabilities, or victims of discrimination, war and natural disasters. It is Stevens goal to “raise 1 million dollars” for these children and he encourages donation to any charity of your choice. His website also provides a list of charities that support children including the Carousel Fund, Families of SMA, Operation Smile and Positive Images.

Similar to Steven Cozza, Rahsaan Bahati is a staunch supporter of the disadvantaged. He has used his involvement in professional cycling, a sport he credits with enabling him to rise above the circumstances of his youth growing up in Compton, California, a community not known for opportunity, to found the Bahati Foundation. The Bahati Foundation “works with local communities to provide inspiration, insight and opportunities for underprivileged youth through the sport of cycling. The Foundation’s GIVEBACK Programs include Cycling Outreach and those that promote Health and Fitness, Education and Music.

Personal experience can be a strong motivation for the start of a charity. As with LIVESTRONG, the Raisin Hope Foundation was founded for that very reason. When Saul Raisin crashed and nearly lost his life due to TMI (Traumatic Brain Injury), he didn’t let the fact that he could no longer ride on a professional cycling team hold him back. He started the Raisin Hope Foundation to help raise awareness for TMI and to provide support for those living and surviving with it. He has charity rides to raise funds, he is a motivational speaker and, amazingly, he is a tri-athlete and has even participated in the New York City Marathon, all of this being accomplished in just the 4 short years since his accident.

Diagnosed at the age of 6 months with Type 1 diabetes, Phil Southerland is another athlete who doesn’t let anything hold him back. When given the challenge and the opportunity to do so, Phil, along with friend Joe Eldridge, founded the Team Type 1 Professional Cycling Team, the only cycling team in the professional peloton to have riders with Type 1 diabetes among its ranks, a team that proves that anything is possible. The team exists in hopes of inspiring those living with diabetes to do so through “proper diet, exercise, treat and technology”. By doing so, they can do whatever their hearts desire and live their dreams. Phil is also a supporter of Camp Kudzu….”a non-profit organization providing education, recreation and peer-networking programs for Georgia’s children with diabetes.”

And then we have Yield To Life, a charity of a different kind and, quite frankly, one that could so easily become an extinct entity if we could all just be a little kinder and a little more patient. It is sad that any of the above mentioned charities is needed but it’s pitiful that we have to have one such as Yield to Life. The mission: “Yield to Life will engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes towards cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life. It is Dave Zabriskie’s own experiences as a 3-time victim of the roads that prompted him to start Yield to Life.

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda rider Kiel Reijnen knows tragedy first hand after having lost his Aunt Hetty Williams 5 years ago to domestic violence. Out of this tragedy, Kiel’s cousins founded “Hetty’s Haven”, a shelter for women suffering at the hands of others. At this year’s Tour of California, Kiel and his cycling family teamed up with Women of Worth to help raise funds for the organization. Women of Worth “assists families in crisis, especially those escaping domestic violence or sexual assault. [They] work to increase self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals and families by assisting them in rebuilding their lives.”

Anybody can make a difference. You don’t have to be a celebrity or professional athlete to get involved. And you don’t have to support every charity that exists, that would be impossible. Find one that tugs at your heart the most, draw from your own life experience to see what change you want to see happen the most and go for it. Donate your time, donate money, even donate blood if you are able. You’d be surprised what one person can do.

(Author’s Note: I had a hard time writing this one. As with all my articles, I want to make them the best that I can but the importance of this one in wanting to bring awareness to the philanthropy of the peloton and get some of their charities’ names out there…..well, I just wanted to do it justice and I hope I did so. I would also like to add links to a couple charities that I have supported over the years either through donation or through participation in fund-raising event…..in addition to LIVESTRONG and the Raisin Hope Foundation, I have supported the Muscular Dystrophy Association ( www.mda.org ), the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation ( www.pedaids.org) and the World Wildlife Fund ( www.worldwildlife.org ). Thanks for reading!!!

Charity/Website Links:



Steven Cozza, Garmin Transitions

http://touringforrighttoplay.wordpress.com/

Touring For Right to Play- International

April 22, 2010

This 25-year-old Garmin-Transitions rider is truly something special. And it’s an honour for me to be allowed to portray him as ‘Rider Of The Week’. There might be a lot of you that have never heard of him, and some who only know him for his moustache, but this week we really get to know the person behind the rider. At just 12 years of age Steven took a stand against discrimination within the Boy Scouts, and started an organisation, Scouting For All, to change their policies. From the age of 12 – 15 he spoke all over the USA against discrimination, and still goes to schools during the off season to speak to youth about standing up for what you believe in. When he made it into the professional world of cycling, he decided to start the ‘Race For Kids Fan Club’ where he aims to raise $1 million for children all around the world. It’s not a charity where the money goes just one place; you can choose which childrens charity you want to donate to. ‘Race For Kids Fan Club’ keeps a total of all the money donated to all the different charities. I thought this was such a fantastic initiative by Steven, and decided all the money we raise for Right To Play will go towards the total.

What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

I started off racing BMX. I worked for an old guy taking care of his garden for a year and bought my first racing bike that way. Then my friends got me into mountain biking. I started off by taking my mom’s mountain bike, but then got in trouble for taking it on the trails without permission, so my parents got me own for my 13th birthday. I started racing on the road in ‘99, the year Lance Armstrong won his first TDF. He really inspired me so I got a road bike. Well I had to also ride on the road due to a broken shoulder I sustained in a high school wrestling accident. I never went back to racing mountain bikes or wrestling after that.

What have you sacrificed for cycling?

I have sacrificed a lot. The greatest sacrifice is not being able to live by my family, but instead across the world. For the most part though, the sacrifices have been all totally worth it. Following your dream is the best thing you can do in your life and I want to encourage all kids to continue to follow their childhood dreams.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

My biggest achievement is coming back after every time I’ve been knocked down. Breaking through every wall that’s put in my way and never giving up.

Do you look up to anyone? Who, Why?

Yes, I look up to Muhammad Ali. He is the greatest athlete ever – in and out of the ring. What a champion – to not only be the greatest athlete of all time, but also a great human being, always standing up for others and never looking down on people. He is the greatest.

What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

The perfect season would be to race to the best of my ability and to help my team the best I can.

Which 3 things would you change about cycling?

I’d make more races in other parts of the world.

Which 3 things make you proud to be a cyclist? I’m proud to be a clean cyclist. I’m proud to stick to my beliefs. And, it feels good to be a good role model for kids.

If you could invite 5 people to a dinner party (dead, alive, or fictitious) who would they be and why would you like to invite them?
Muhammad Ali, Ghandi, and the rest would be homeless, starving people and children

What is your favorite race of the season? Paris-Roubaix. I love this race because it’s so different than the rest.

Which race would you most like to win? Paris-Roubaix.

What is the reason you wanted to start Race for Kids Fan Club? Because I like helping others rather than just myself. All children deserve a chance in this life. We can all make a positive difference.

Right To Play already has projects in 23 countries worldwide, but where do you think sport and play could do the most good for young people and society as a whole?

I think it’s important to give all youth in the world these opportunities. Sport is such a great activity. Competition used in a peaceful way. It teaches kids so much and should be available to all. Thanks to Right To Play, they are paving the road to making this happen.

Why do you think it is so important for children to have the opportunity to participate in sport and play?

It’s good for everything: health, teaching responsibility, teamwork, building confidence and self esteem, encourages friendship and so much more. Sport/Play and Education are crucial in the development of a young person’s life.

If you want to support the fundraising, and also become a member of the ‘Race For Kids Fan Club’, you can donate to Right To Play here, or bid for items in the auctions that will be on ebay.

Thanks so much to Steven Cozza for taking the time to answer the questions! Good luck with the season, and of course with the amazing work you do for all the children in the world!

And thanks to Kristof Ramon for the picture.


March 12, 2010
Interview / Cafe Chat by: Chris Fontecchio

The Podium Cafe

http://www.podiumcafe.com

As fans we frequently commodify athletes — attach labels to them to indicate their value. My favorite example, as a Red Sox fan, is the discussion of who is the team’s “ace,” or top starting pitcher. Recently, reporters who should’ve known better asked Josh Beckett, a notoriously prickly dude, about it, and he responded with palpable disdain. Didn’t answer at all. And I can sympathize: not only the lack of sympathy for Boston sportswriters but the concept — what does that label mean to him? Why would the identity of yesterday’s pitcher matter when today it’s his job to find 27 outs someplace?

We fans do this in cycling too — and it’s not “bad” or even always wrong. The results justify our “sprinter rankings” discussions or predictions of who will win Paris-Roubaix or climb up a grand tour podium. In the sport’s rarified air, you can find guys commodifying themselves as “captains” and protected riders. Hell, last year we even enjoyed the distinct pleasure [cough] of watching Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador wrestle each other for the label while their DS vainly insisted that it didn’t matter.

But commodifying has its limits back in reality. Even if Lance and Bert couldn’t hear Bruyneel’s message, “just race your bikes” is something that resonates for a large percentage of the peloton. Take the case of Garmin-Transition’s Steven Cozza. The 25-year-old Californian defies easy commodification: he’s not a cobbles behemoth or a mini-mountain goat. He rates his own abilities as climbing and time trialing but was famously seen on the front of Paris-Roubaix last year for a few hours. We spoke via email last weekend and he shifts easily from discussing winning the world’s biggest one-day race to riding in support whenever his team asks him to. In short, he’s a bike racer, he just wants to race his bike. Check it out:

PdC: Generalizations are bad, but among the European peloton are the classics guys known for any particular traits of personality?

SC: Yes, Classics guys tend to be very very mean. We are not like those wimpy French stage race guys out there. Us Classics guys have mustaches and chop firewood for training. For example, I ate rattlesnake for dinner last night. I’m gluten-free, so rattlesnake is one of my favorites.

You can see where this is headed… Join us, on the Flip:

PdC: So you recently said that you dream every day of winning Paris-Roubaix but your website lists climbing and time trials as your strength. At this early age are you trying to figure out where you best fit in?

SC: You know I try never to count myself out. Why put limitations on ourselves? There are too many jerks already out there telling us negative things and my ears are closed to all of them. You just got to believe in yourself. Anything is possible.

PdC: It sounds like in your heart you’re a classics guy. So how did you become a “classics guy”? How far back does this connection go?

SC: I like the Classics and see myself going far with these races, but I just love racing my bike and the harder the race is the better it is for me. This is why the Classics suit me so well.

PdC: Staying with Paris-Roubaix, last year was your first full-on running? Had you raced over those cobbles before turning pro?

SC: I’ve raced since I was 17 in Belgium. I have spent many years racing over those cobbles and absolutely love it.

PdC: So being in a long break [Cozza was part of a lead group at the 2009 Paris-Roubaix], was that like being a kid in a candy shop? What did you think about it?

SC: Yes, it was. I was very excited. It was a really hard break to make in a cross-wind section. It was like having a front row seat at the movie theaters, except I was in the movie. I love every minute of Paris-Roubaix because of the challenges it presents. There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure.

PdC: In a race that long and difficult, did you have hopes of staying away? Or did you think, it’s Paris-Roubaix, we will be chased down?

SC: Yes, of course. It’s happened before and it could happen again. You just never know. I wasn’t in the break just to be in the break. I was in the break that day to try and win that freakin’ race. I want to be the first American to top the podium one day. Those are larges ambitions, but you’ve got to dream.

PdC: To finish after being in the break was a real accomplishment. How close do you feel to being strong enough to competing in P-R?

SC: I feel I can already compete in the best races in the world. Ive had quite a bit of injury and bad luck over the past year. When I put all this bad luck behind me I’m going to come out swinging.

PdC: Are you hopeful of a spot on the team’s Tour de France roster? Is that a pretty big key to your development?

SC: Yes, I would love to race and be competitive in the Tour de France someday. It’s something all pro cyclists want to aim for.

PdC: What do you do to train for the classics? Do you head up to Belgium far enough ahead of time to get in some training? Or is the plan to keep racing, generally raise your fitness and see where it gets you?

SC: It’s a little of both. It’s very important to get some long kilometer days on the bike. After some of the 200k race,s we will go out for another 50k just to be ready for Roubaix. Since I am nursing a broken clavical that I had operated on after my crash in Qatar, my approach is a bit different. Long training days and motorpacing until I can race again.

PdC: Are there places around Girona that help mimic the climbs of Flanders or the Pave of northern France?

SC: No. Nothing can mimic these climbs. You have to go there to train on them to really be great.

PdC: You’ve mentioned climbing as part of your arsenal. Did you get a sense of the Tour of Flanders and whether that might be a better race for you?

SC: Flanders has short steep climbs in it. You don’t need to really be a pure climber which I am not. The Flanders climbs are perfect for me and I really enjoy this race as well. I think I can ride very well in Flanders in the future.

PdC: Between P-R and Flanders, how are the rhythms of the race different?

SC: They are actually very similar. The best guys use the cobbled sections to make the selections in both races. It’s just that one race has short, steep cobbled climbs and the other does not.

PdC: Right now you’re a young rider on a team that’s put together a front-line Classics team. I gather your job (if you’re healed) is to support them?

SC: I’m 25 years old. I wish I could still use the ‘I’m young’ comment, but I am half way to 30 now. Whether I’m riding in support of my team or taking over a lead roll, I don’t really care. I just love to be able to do my job on the bike whatever that entitles. When I’m given a clear mission, I give it 100% no matter what it is in the race.

PdC: But you have ambitions to win P-R and presumably others. So how do you get the team to give you a chance? By getting results elsewhere? Driedaagse West Vlaanderen, de Panne, Eroica, stuff like that?

SC: Yes, that and to be there if something happens to our leader to take over the main role.

PdC: In what races do you expect to have more of a leadership role?

SC: When you are going the strongest you get the leadership role. That’s just how it works.

PdC: Do you worry at all about people thinking of you as a domestique? Is there a danger that guys get “labeled” by doing good support work? Or are these labels and distinctions just something for people outside the sport?

SC: No not at all. There are 200 guys in a bike race. Not everyone from every team can fight for the win. Teamwork really is important in winning a bike race and if it wasn’t for the domestiques, the leader would never win. It’s just how it works and to be a great domestique is a great accomplishment. Not every guy can do the work of a great domestique.

PdC: The collarbone — what’s the prognosis now? What kind of training do you do to preserve your fitness?

SC: Three weeks on the trainer and now back on the road. My first race back is Volta Catalunya. For more up-close updates, check out my web page at www.stevencozza.com and join my Race For Kids Fan Club while you’re at it.

Do check out his site. He writes well, with candor, and is passionate about his charitable work. He also talks about his hectic life lately, which (along with a non-functioning Skype connection) is why we did this by email rather than the preferred, more conversational phone interview. Guy’s got a lot on his plate as he struggles to get race-fit as soon as humanly possible.

Couple things I found interesting. First, following up on my opening theme, he makes a good case for shedding labels. After our discourse I have started to see those “I just wanna race my bike” comments you see all the time from riders not as banal but as sincere attempts to explain that racing isn’t about commodities. Everyone is a bike racer racing his bike, whether he’s asked to take a leading role or a support one. I should know better — the team concept of cycling isn’t exactly new to me — but chatting with Cozza is a nice reminder that the athletes don’t typically categorize themselves. Performing at such a high level requires a ton of hope, including for many guys the hope of winning the big race someday but in the context of teamwork, where everybody’s contribution is valued more or less equally. Cozza’s goal is to be one of those guys, do everything he can, and see where the chips fall.

I was also a little surprised to hear him say that 25 isn’t young. Obviously he would know more about this than me, but it’s worth wondering whether American riders can be held to the same standard as Europeans (for whom 25 is at most just entering their prime). Even guys like Cozza who went to Europe straight from high school still don’t tend to have the background in racing that the homegrown riders there do. Look at Tyler Farrar, who started really putting together his immense talent at age 26. Or Christian VandeVelde, who “exploded” onto the scene at age 32. Or even Armstrong, a wet-behind-the-ears World Champion but not a Tour de France winner until his late 20s. Cozza may believe it’s getting close to now-or-never, but I’m not so sure.

Photo by Doug Pensinger, Getty Images Sport

http://www.podiumcafe.com/2010/3/12/1369760/cafe-chat-steven-cozza-doing

602nds with Steven Cozza

Posted by CycleGirl on 24th Feb, 2010 in Featured Articles,

602nds had a chat with professional cyclist Steven Cozza, whilst at home recovering from collarbone surgery after his crash at the Tour of Qatar.

Steven currently rides for UCI Professional Team Garmin-Transitions. Steven resides in Petaluma California, where he bases himself during the European winter, with the rest of the time he is based with team-mates in Girona. Steven specialises on the road in time trial, climbing, stage RR & the classics.

Steven started racing at 15 years old after breaking his shoulder in a high school wrestling match, and then raced in Europe when he was 16 with an Italian Junior Team and also the USA National Team. He has competed for USA at the World Road & TT Championships as a junior, U23 & Elite rider. In 2005 Steven won the USA U23 ITT Championship. Steven is well known for being a character in the Peloton with his “moustache” taking on its own identity back in 2008.

Hope you all enjoy this 602nds interview with Steven.

602nds: What is the one race you would like to win before you retire from cycling?
Steven: Paris – Roubaix. Every day, I dream of winning that race one day. Last year was my first time competing there and I had a great time racing in the breakaway all day.

602nds: What is your personal cycling goal for 2010?
Steven: Well now that I destroyed my collarbone in just the first race of the year, my new goal is to come back as strong as possible and as soon as possible before the Belgian Classics.

602nds: What is your all time cycling moment?
Steven: Oh boy, this is a tough question. I have had a lot of great cycling memories over the years. I would have to say being in the breakaway at the 2008 TOC while my moustache was in top form and seeing a whole family of kids and parents all wearing fake moustaches cheering me on up one of the climbs. I thought that was really cool to see that a family was having a good time watching the race and cheering me on. I love seeing the fans smile as we race by. I really loved racing in the Tour of Poland last year because the fans were just so happy to have us racing through their towns. That really inspires me to keep racing my bike.

602nds: Who/What inspired you to become a cyclist?
Steven: I started racing BMX bikes and then mountain bikes. When I was 15, I broke my shoulder in a high school wrestling accident. I couldn’t ride the mountain bike for a whole year so I rode on the road. This was in 1999 when Lance won his first Tour de France. Since then, I have been in love with the sport of cycling.

602nds:Do you have a tip for someone who is just started out riding?
Steven: Yes of course, have lots of fun. Never forget that you ride a bike because of how fun it is and because of the way it makes you feel. We all have our bad days and the days we don’t want to even think of touching a bike, but overall, it should be fun. Never quit on your dreams and never count yourself out because of what others may say. Listen to your own heart.

602nds: Do you have a ritual you do before all your races, or a lucky charm etc…?
Steven: I used to have a lot of rituals and superstitions. It started getting nuts and I got too carried away with them all. I just go out now and ride my butt off.

602nds: If your iPod was broken and it could only play one song continuously. What would it be?
Steven: It would have to be “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. This song is one of my all time favourites.

602nds: Is there one rider in the Peloton that you always end up having a chat with whilst riding?
Steven: It’s always a good chat with Danny Pate. He talks non-stop.

602nds: Everyone has an opinion on the Footon-Servetto kit, what are your thoughts? Would you be happy wearing it?
Steven: I’m not sure what this one looks like. If it’s as weird sounding as their name, I’m sure it’s pretty awful. I think my team definitely looks the best out there in the peloton.

602nds: We know that sports stars all over the world are talked about being “Role Models” for the sport they are representing, the fans & media can’t get enough of the stars when they are at the top. But, when they fall from grace the media & fans can be nasty & unfair.
Do you think that the term ‘Role Model” should also involve these sports stars private life? Should there be a line where the fans & media shouldn’t cross?
Steven: It really depends on the athlete himself. We all have our different personalities. If you take a guy like Muhammad Ali, he would have invited the whole paparazzi over for dinner. He loved the attention and he could make people smile by just being himself. I think that is so cool when an athlete of great status opens his doors to the rest of the world. Cycling is one of the only sports in the world where the fans can truly get up and close to some of their favourite athletes. It’s part of the sport of cycling. We all signed up for it when we decided to be professional cyclists.

602nds: We know that you are now recovering from having an operation on your collarbone, what do you do to keep yourself busy all day?
Steven: This is not the only time I have had to come back from injury. I am very good at keeping busy. My girlfriend, Jen, arrived the other day as well to help me out since I only have one arm right now. My days consist of riding the indoor trainer as hard and long as I can. I am also doing workouts in the gym to keep my leg strength as strong as possible.

602nds: Are you a beer or wine man? And what is your Favourite?
Steven: I’m neither a beer nor wine man. I prefer a nice glass of orange juice or a glass of agave nectar mixed with rice milk after a hard training ride.

602nds: You have started the “Race for kids Fan club” on your website, Can you tell us a little about the cause & why you chose to do it?
Steven: The “Race for Kids Fan Club” is something I decided to start to raise money for disadvantaged children around the world. Fans of mine can join my fan club by donating to one of the selected youth charities on my web page and in return they will become official fan club members – as well as receiving an autographed racer card and earning the chance to win cool Team Garmin prizes in our monthly drawings. I have always believed in giving back and helping others in the world. The Race for Kids Fan Club inspires me so much when I am out training 4 to 5 hours a day, rain or shine. My goal is to raise over one million dollars for children charities.

602nds: How can the readers become involved in the cause?
Steven: They can go to myweb page (www.stevencozza.com) and become an official member of my Steven Cozza Race for Kids Fan Club.

602nds would like to thank Steven for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish him all the best for the 2010 Cycling Season, and a speedy recovery from his latest injury.

If you want to keep track of what Steven is up to, you can follow him on twitter or his facebook fan page.

602nds encourages all readers to support Steven’s cause “Race for Kids Fan Club” .



Photo Courtesy of Kristof Ramon

Visit Kramon’s Flickr gallery for more images

Posted February 14, 2010
Interviewer: Ties Lange interviews Steven Cozza

www.cycling4fans.com

* This interview took place prior to Steven’s injury at the Tour of Qatar

1. What do you think of a prohibition of radios in professional cycling? May you explain your opinion?

Steven: I don’t see a good reason for banning radio use in professional cycling. Racing can be very dangerous and getting warnings on conditions up the road can keep us those of us racing out of trouble. The team’s follow car is our support during the race and the radios just improve the comunication from support car to the racer. Plus, the media could use it to add more excitment to watching cycling races. How cool would that be if the fans watching the race on TV could hear what guys like Christian VandeVelde are saying during the race!

2. Are you already preparing yourself for the time after your cycling career? If so, how are you preparing yourself?

Steven: Yes, I’m preparing by saving as much money as I can. I’m not yet sure what the future holds for me but that’s the exciting part. Right now my focus is 100% on my cycling. Everything else will fall into place.

3. Should professional cyclists play a more important part in cycling politics? If so, how could this been achieved?

Steven: Yes, of course. I think there should be a cyclist chosen from every Pro Tour team to be ambassadors of the sport. I think professional cyclists need to speak up against the doping. I think a two year ban is not enough. The penalty needs to be at least four years for a doping violation and a life ban for a second violation. We also must be careful that a cyclist isn’t penalized if he or she showed positive because of a tainted supplement. We take supplements because the sport is so demanding on our bodies. I’m not sure if that would be possible, but if it is actions must be taken to protect the innocent.

4. How important is tradition in professional cycling of today?

Steven: Tradition is important to a certain extent. I think a lot of the old theories and ways of thinking in cycling are wrong. I’m glad that my team Garmin-Transitions is taking the sport of cycling to a new level with science to help us be our best for races in a clean and healthy way. Our sponsors fully support this. We even have a sponsor called POM that provides us with free radical fighting pomegranate juice.

5. For which fellow cyclist do you have (or had) the greatest respect?

Steven: I’ve looked up to many professional cyclists since I started racing at the age of 15. Since then, they have all tested positive for drug use. I want to guarantee for anyone out there who may look up to me that I will never let them down the way my past heros have. To answer your question, I’d have to say my favorite current professional cyclist is Jens Voigt. I love his racing style and attitude.

6. What has changed in professional cycling since the beginning of your career (or in the last five years)?

Steven: The sport’s attitude has changed. I’d say that the majority of racers now are against any form of doping. My whole team is and we speak out against it. My team has even hired a company to test us for banned substances throughout the year along with a blood passport by USADA and WADA that I already have to give blood to. This winter I was tested over 4 times. That wouldn’t have happened 5 years ago, but its happening today and that’s a great thing.

7. A private question: Are you having a dog and if so, what’s its name?

Steven: Ha. Great question. I love dogs and I really miss my Teddy girl. She was an awesome Australian Shepherd that passed away from cancer in 2008. Someday I will have another dog, but I will adopt one instead of buying one from an expensive breeder or a pet shop.

8. What are your main goals for the cycling season 2010?

Steven: My main objectives for the spring are of course the Classics. I love Flanders and Roubaix. As long as I do my job, whether that is being a support rider for Martijn Maskant or Johan Vansummermen, or winning a race myself, I will be happy. I still have not won a pro race in Europe yet, so that is a goal of mine as well.

9. Which main objective would you still like to achieve in your cycling career?

Steven: I would like to win Paris Roubaix someday. I believe I can. We will just have to wait and see.

10. How are/were you preparing yourself for the cycling season 2010? Where is / has been your training base?

Steven: I spent the winter training in my hometown of Petaluma, California. It’s where my family lives and the training there is the best in the world. My coach, Dario from www.wholeathlete.com, also lives there. He set up a really great training program for me this winter during the base training months. I worked my butt off this winter and now its time to start racing. I look forward to seeing the payoff of all the hard work.

11. How many annual training kilometers do you usually ride?

Steven: Anywhere from 500 to 700 kilometers in a week. It really depends on the time of the year.

12. Your favourite cycling race? Why?

Steven: I like every race I’m scheduled to do.

13. Which is the most difficult and which the most beautiful climb?

Steven: Eroica in Italy is the most beautiful race I’ve ever done. I really look forward to racing that one again this year and would like to win it someday. The dirt sections in the race are awesome. All the races are difficult. I can’t choose one in particular that is the most difficult.

14. Just a little advice for an amateur cyclist: Which nutritional supplements are you – or professional cyclists in general – taking during a 3 week grand tour?

Steven: I say eat healthy. Don’t starve yourself like some cyclists do. It’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods. My favorite is rice, chicken, fish, and vegetables. I don’t take very many supplements because I eat healthy. Since our team worries about us accidentally buying contaminated supplements, we get iron, fish oil and multi vitamins through the team nutritionists.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010
by Edmond Hood

The last time we spoke to Garmin’s Steve Cozza was after the 2008 Paris – Tours; where he produced another solid performance from a consistent and promising year. But the 2009 season wasn’t a good one for the Californian; we caught up with him at his Girona summer base, just after he had returned from the Garmin camp in Calpe, to discuss his hopes for 2010.

PEZ: How was the winter?
Steve: The winter was good, I was training in California and the weather was fine. October I mostly rested, but during November and December I built up the miles. My girlfriend, Jen moved from Georgia to be with me, so that was pretty cool.

PEZ: Have you thought about spending the winter in Girona?
Steve: I’ve thought about it and I think I probably will, in the future. I had health problems last year; after the Tour of Missouri we decided to end the season early, rest, then start to train sooner, rather than later. I had stomach problems which turned out to be irritable bowel syndrome – so no more dairy or wheat products for me.


Cozza is back to 100% and ready to go in 2010.

PEZ: Did you do any of that shark fishing over the winter?
Steve: Yeah, I took some friends out shark fishing and we went trout fishing in the Sierras, that was cool.

I did a few charity rides over the winter, too – it’s fun to give your time and help.

PEZ: Were there any high spots in 2009?
Steve: Not really, it was a quiet year, I was pretty sick for the whole season and couldn’t develop any power. But every year is a new year and I learned some lessons in 2009 – never give up, keep training, keep trying. I’ll be taking that new mental strength with me into 2010.


A healthy Cozza is a force in any bike race: a big, powerful engine.

PEZ: Did Bradley jumping ship affect team morale?
Steve: It’s tough because he was a good team mate and we’ll miss him; but it was his decision – I can’t judge him on what he did, I haven’t been in that position.

Morale in the team is great, we have a strong roster; we have GC riders, classics guys, climbers, time triallists and sprinters – we’re not a one sided squad.

PEZ: Will there be a Garmin v. Sky niggle?
Steve: I don’t think so, we’re going out to win, so it’s not just Sky we have to worry about – we have to be competitive against all of the rival teams.

PEZ: How was the training camp?
Steve: We had a two week camp at Calpe. We good some good rides in – it was excellent training. We also met up with our new sponsors, Transitions – they told us all about their lenses and glasses. Their lenses react to the conditions; they’ll change with the weather – you only need one set of lenses, that’s so cool!


A happy Cozza back in the early days of Slipstream.
That wasn’t all that long ago.

PEZ: How’s Tyler Farrar?
Steve: He’s definitely in good form already; he’s looking for a stage win at Qatar. There’s an opening team time trial there, so if we can put up a strong ride in that, we can set him up for the overall, if he gets stage wins.

PEZ: Will Christian Vandevelde ride the Giro as Tour prep?
Steve: I don’t think that Christian will ride the Giro, it clashes with the Tour of California and that’s a big objective for us.

PEZ: What’s your programme like?
Steve: Qatar, Oman, Het Volk – then the Italian stuff; Eroika, Tirreno, Milan – San Remo. Then I’m back to Belgium for all the major Northern Classics.


Cozza is a fast man on a TT bike.

PEZ: New Felt TT bikes, I hear?
Steve: They’re really nice; Felt have always been one of the most aero TT bikes around and this year we have Mavic as a sponsor so they’re even better. We tried them out at Calpe but I’m looking forward to racing on mine.

PEZ: What are you looking forward to most about 2010?
Steve: The Belgian classics, particularly Paris – Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders – they’re my favourite races. We have Martijn Maaskant and Johan Van Summeren, I want to be good for them, but also able to take my own opportunities if they arise.

I’m also looking forward to seeing how my new website stevencozza.com works out – my dad has done a pile of work on it. Fans can sign up, make a donation and they’ll get an autographed card from me – but they’ll also put themselves in line to win cool prizes; autographed team jerseys and stuff like that. All the proceeds from the site go to disadvantaged kids.

PEZ: 2010 will be a success, if . . .
Steve: If I’m consistent, like I was in 2008. I have big ambitions, I want to be a top rider and play a strong supporting role for teammates like Martijn. But I want at least one pro win, this year – and I want to be good in the Eroica, I love racing over those dirt roads!


The man sounds ‘full of it’ as we say in Scotland (that’s a positive comment in Scotland, not like in America) – we wish him all the best for 2010 and we’ll try not to leave it for a year until we catch up with him next time.

January 7, 2010
Interview by
Jacob, Cat 4 racer on the cusp of greatness!

It had been a few weeks off for our intrepid hero, and during that time he had grown a moustache, befriended the entirety of the Garmin-Slipstream team, and also convinced them to get a masters in Sports Science, so they can stop paying for doping testing and just do it themselves. This curious bunch expressed their thanks in an endless supply of Chipotle burritos, and Jacob had had nothing else to eat for the past two weeks. He felt like this would be his key to victory. And also having Dave Zabriskie and Steven Cozza working for him couldn’t hurt.

Flying Moustaches1

Jacob: So Dave, what’s our plan for today?
Dave: Jacob, having a moustache means having no plan.
Steven: It does the work for you. It’s like a robot butler that creates cycling strategy for you.
Dave: Like a DS and domestique riding above your lip.
Steven: It is the essence of excellence.
Jacob: Wow…
Dave: The essence of comfort is in DZ Nuts. We’re not just chamois cream, we’ve got a whole line of accessories.

Flying Moustaches2

Jacob: Wait, how did you just place a hyperlink into our conversation?
Dave: It’s the power of the moustache.
Steven: You’d be balls crazy not to ride with DZ Nuts protecting your junk.
Dave: Well put Steven, well put.
Jacob: Whoa, what’s going on here?

Flying Moustaches3

Steven: Looks like two large moose-
Dave: Meese?
Jacob: Mooses?

Flying Moustaches4

Steven: Moosi’i? Uh…One moose is bucking horns with another.
Jacob: Well if they wanted a pissing contest, they could’ve pulled off to the side of the road.
Dave: Perhaps they’re trying to impress the ladies?
Steven: Interestingly, most of them are gone.
Jacob: Ironic.
Dave: Perhaps their crotches are enflamed?
Jacob: I’d prefer not to consider that option.
Dave: Jacob, alls I see are opportunities…
Jacob: Perhaps you can give me a free sample so I can endorse it to my friends?

Flying Moustaches4

Dave: No can do.
Steven: Would you like a free burrito though?
Jacob: No thanks, it’s the last lap, I can’t be fumbling with a burrito.
Dave: We better set ourselves up nicely for the sprint.
Jacob: I’m nominally a crappy climber, but I’ll do what I can.
Steven: We can help, right Dave?
Dave: Right Steven. Moustaches, flying V!!

Flying Moustaches6

Dave: I’ll use my sexy TT legs to get you to the finish Jacob!
Steven: I’ll hold down the right side so that you don’t get boxed out!
Dave & Steven: Flying V! Huzzah!
Dave: Go Jacob! Unleash those thunderthighs of yours!
Jacob: Raaah!

Flying Moustaches7

Jacob: 4th!

Dave: Oh yeah…just like big Z planned…
Flying Moustaches8


November 23, 2009

After another year of racing with his team Garmin – Slipstream, Steven has settled into a fresh training routine for the upcoming 2010 season and is enjoying showing his newly relocated girlfriend, Jen, around northern California. She had some time to compile several questions that Steven’s fans have submitted. Below, she gets the answers in an interview with Steven himself.

Jen: What is it like living in Spain for part of the year? Do you speak Spanish? What do you do during your free time over there?

Steven: Living in Spain for my job is a dream come true. The people and the culture of Spain are incredible. By now, yes, I should be able to speak fluent Spanish but not quite there yet. I sure am learning though from my Spanish friends.
When we’re not training on the awesome roads of the Catalun region, I sometimes head out to the Costa Brava for fishing, snorkeling and just laying on the beach.It’s also nice just strolling the 1000 year old streets of downtown Girona.
——-

Jen: How many bicycles do you have?

Steven: The team gives us one training bike in the USA and one in Spain. We have a Felt F1 and a Felt AR race bike to choose from while at races along with time trial bikes as well. My own personal collection includes a few Felt cruiser bikes, a cross bike and a mountain bike.
——–

Jen: What was your favorite moment of racing this year?

Steven: Well I guess it would have to be riding in the break all day at Paris Roubaix. I love that race and am totally hooked.
——–

Jen: What is the tattoo that sticks out from the sleeve of your jersey?

Steven: The tattoo on my left shoulder is two huge Koi fish. For me, it’s a symbol of perseverance and fortitude. I also like fish and the water.
——–
Jen: Do you get to ride first class on planes when you fly?

Steven: No way, haha. Definitely don’t get to ride first class on the plane. Our sponsors do and some of the top riders have it negotiated in their contract, but I personally think first class is a waste of space that they could be using to fit more people on a plane. It’s also ridiculously expensive. One time I did get to fly from the Tour of California to Girona (Spain) on Doug Ellis’s private jet. I have to say that was one cool experience that I’ll probably never have the chance to do again.
——–

Jen: What is your favorite snack to take on training days? (if not Clif bars, which are one of your sponsors)

Steven: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my favorite.
———

Jen: What sort of music are you listening to these days?

Steven: I always love Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tonic, Emerson Hart, Def Leppard and The Offspring.
——–
Jen: Is the mustache going to make a comeback?

Steven: Of course. I hope my fans print off the stache I have on my web site and wear it at the races I’m in. That would be cool and a lot of fun.
———
Jen: Do you guys train as a team or do you train on your own?

Steven: A little bit of both. Since just about the whole team lives in Girona, it makes training as a team very easy.
———
Jen: What is the average length of a training ride at this point during the season? And how many days a week do you train?

Steven: At this time of the year, I’m doing anywhere from 15 – 20 hours a week. 5 – 6 days of training a week. It’s a mix between mountain biking and road biking. Right now, I really prefer to ride with people too, but I usually train alone since we spend a lot of time in Guerneville, CA.

Interview September 2009

Nathaniel Brewster’s cycling blog is mylanternrouge.blogspot.com

The Interview

Nathaniel Brewster- “Congratulations on Zabriskie’s win in Missouri. How was it defending the yellow jersey those last couple days? Any close calls?”

Steven Cozza- “Helping to defend DZ’s Yellow Jersey was very tough. I haven’t had to dig that deep in a long time and I loved every little bit of it. I was so tired the day after the race was over we did a ride with our Garmin sponsor. There were 200 people on the ride and I had to get in the car half way thru the ride. I left every last drop of energy I had in the race to help protect Zabriskie’s lead.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “When does the ‘off season’ start?”

Steven Cozza- “Its different for everyone. My off season started the day the Tour of Missouri ended.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Do you use rollers,trainer or both?”

Steven Cozza- “Only use them when I have a broken bone and can’t ride outside. Otherwise won’t touch them. I enjoy the great outdoors.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Do you own a tandem? And who would you like to ride one with?”

Steven Cozza- “No I don’t own a tandem, but they are great bikes for the blind to use to enjoy cycling. I helped raise money for the Earle Baum Center of the Blind, in Santa Rosa, California
(www.earlebaum.org) to purchase 5 tandem bikes a few years ago. I loved taking a great rider named Sean who was blind out on the tandem whenever I could.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Have you witnessed changes in the domestic scene with the advent of races like the Tour of Missouri and Tour of California?

Steven Cozza- “I think having more races like the TOC or the TOM in the US is a great idea. The fans are awsome here in the US and it would be great for the domestic scene to get a boost with races like these.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Those Garmin Edge computers are pretty snazzy. Do you find yourself lost without one?”

Steven Cozza- “I’m an Eagle Scout. One of my favorite off season things to do every year is to walk into the mountains with food and just a sleeping back. Bishop, California is my favorite place to start hikes out of. I dont even bring a map. Having a “Garmin edge” is a great tool to train with. I am so so so glad they are my team’s sponsor. Awsome company and an awsome product line.”

Nathanieal Brewster- “Garmin’s training philosophy seems pretty progressive. Do you have a personal coach and program? Or is your training more team-centric?”

Steven Cozza- “Yes Dario Fredrick (www.Wholeathlete.com) is my personal coach. He’s help get me through the “ups and downs” of professional cycling. I reccommend him to any serious cyclist and or weekend warrior.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Ever use those ‘Space Legs’? Do they work?”

Steven Cozza- “I do use them when I can. Do they work? Who knows. I think they help. If anything they look cool and funny to wear.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Are you a DZ Nuts convert?”

Steven Cozza- “I use DZ Nuts for Shaving Cream. It actually works great.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “In the day’s break at Roubaix ’09. Certainly an accomplishment. Was it as difficult as you imagined?”

Steven Cozza- “I love the Roubaix race. I am addicted and its definetily in my eye for the next ten years. I love the cobbles and feel so at home on them. It was a real pleasure to race in the break all day at my first Paris Roubaix. The fans kick major ass.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Will you do it again in ’10?”

Steven Cozza- “Yes. I’ll be there in ’10. I know I can be strong in the final for Martijn our classics leader. I want to save myself for the last 80 kilometers to help him win. When my opportunity comes I’ll be ready.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “What’s your favorite ‘hometown’ race?”

Steven Cozza- “Our old Tuesday night crits in Santa Rosa. I sure hope they bring them back.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “How long do you live in Europe each year? Do you speak any foreign languages?”

Steven Cozza- “I only spend the winters months back home. November thru December usually. The rest of the time I am in Spain working on my Spanish.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “How often do you replace your cycling shoes?”

Steven Cozza- “Once every 3-6 months of racing.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “You’ve had your share of injuries as a pro. What’s your advice for those who hit the deck and break something?”

Steven Cozza- “Enjoy your time off. Everytime I break something I always come back stronger and have the best races of my life.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Does the mustache have performance enhancing qualities?

Steven Cozza- “Yes the mustache gives me “super powers”, ha ha. I cant wait to grow it back for the 2010 season. If you go to my web site www.stevencozza.com on the home page you can print the “stache” to wear at the races I’m in. Hope to see my fans wearing the “stache”.”

Interview September 2009

Nathaniel Brewster’s cycling blog is mylanternrouge.blogspot.com

The Interview

Nathaniel Brewster- “Congratulations on Zabriskie’s win in Missouri. How was it defending the yellow jersey those last couple days? Any close calls?”

Steven Cozza- “Helping to defend DZ’s Yellow Jersey was very tough. I haven’t had to dig that deep in a long time and I loved every little bit of it. I was so tired the day after the race was over we did a ride with our Garmin sponsor. There were 200 people on the ride and I had to get in the car half way thru the ride. I left every last drop of energy I had in the race to help protect Zabriskie’s lead.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “When does the ‘off season’ start?”

Steven Cozza- “Its different for everyone. My off season started the day the Tour of Missouri ended.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Do you use rollers,trainer or both?”

Steven Cozza- “Only use them when I have a broken bone and can’t ride outside. Otherwise won’t touch them. I enjoy the great outdoors.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Do you own a tandem? And who would you like to ride one with?”

Steven Cozza- “No I don’t own a tandem, but they are great bikes for the blind to use to enjoy cycling. I helped raise money for the Earle Baum Center of the Blind, in Santa Rosa, California
(www.earlebaum.org) to purchase 5 tandem bikes a few years ago. I loved taking a great rider named Sean who was blind out on the tandem whenever I could.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Have you witnessed changes in the domestic scene with the advent of races like the Tour of Missouri and Tour of California?

Steven Cozza- “I think having more races like the TOC or the TOM in the US is a great idea. The fans are awsome here in the US and it would be great for the domestic scene to get a boost with races like these.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Those Garmin Edge computers are pretty snazzy. Do you find yourself lost without one?”

Steven Cozza- “I’m an Eagle Scout. One of my favorite off season things to do every year is to walk into the mountains with food and just a sleeping back. Bishop, California is my favorite place to start hikes out of. I dont even bring a map. Having a “Garmin edge” is a great tool to train with. I am so so so glad they are my team’s sponsor. Awsome company and an awsome product line.”

Nathanieal Brewster- “Garmin’s training philosophy seems pretty progressive. Do you have a personal coach and program? Or is your training more team-centric?”

Steven Cozza- “Yes Dario Fredrick (www.Wholeathlete.com) is my personal coach. He’s help get me through the “ups and downs” of professional cycling. I reccommend him to any serious cyclist and or weekend warrior.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Ever use those ‘Space Legs’? Do they work?”

Steven Cozza- “I do use them when I can. Do they work? Who knows. I think they help. If anything they look cool and funny to wear.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Are you a DZ Nuts convert?”

Steven Cozza- “I use DZ Nuts for Shaving Cream. It actually works great.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “In the day’s break at Roubaix ’09. Certainly an accomplishment. Was it as difficult as you imagined?”

Steven Cozza- “I love the Roubaix race. I am addicted and its definetily in my eye for the next ten years. I love the cobbles and feel so at home on them. It was a real pleasure to race in the break all day at my first Paris Roubaix. The fans kick major ass.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Will you do it again in ’10?”

Steven Cozza- “Yes. I’ll be there in ’10. I know I can be strong in the final for Martijn our classics leader. I want to save myself for the last 80 kilometers to help him win. When my opportunity comes I’ll be ready.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “What’s your favorite ‘hometown’ race?”

Steven Cozza- “Our old Tuesday night crits in Santa Rosa. I sure hope they bring them back.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “How long do you live in Europe each year? Do you speak any foreign languages?”

Steven Cozza- “I only spend the winters months back home. November thru December usually. The rest of the time I am in Spain working on my Spanish.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “How often do you replace your cycling shoes?”

Steven Cozza- “Once every 3-6 months of racing.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “You’ve had your share of injuries as a pro. What’s your advice for those who hit the deck and break something?”

Steven Cozza- “Enjoy your time off. Everytime I break something I always come back stronger and have the best races of my life.”

Nathaniel Brewster- “Does the mustache have performance enhancing qualities?

Steven Cozza- “Yes the mustache gives me “super powers”, ha ha. I cant wait to grow it back for the 2010 season. If you go to my web site www.stevencozza.com on the home page you can print the “stache” to wear at the races I’m in. Hope to see my fans wearing the “stache”.”