Interview: Steven Cozza – NetApp Team Pro Rider
Steven Cozza on moving on to NetApp, the 2011 season and the cycling press…
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.
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