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Pez Talk: 2011 NetApp Rider Steven Cozza

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 8:01 am

PEZ Talk: 2011 NetApp Rider Steven Cozza
Monday, September 27, 2010  3:52:48 AM PT

by Edmond Hood

  The last time we spoke to Steve Cozza was back in February of this year; he had high hopes for the season but a broken collar bone in the Tour of Qatar wasn’t a good start to his campaign. The season which followed, spent in harness as a domestique in the mighty Garmin squad, has caused Steve to reappraise his career path and despite a contract which runs through to the end of 2011, the 25 year-old from Petaluma, California has taken the brave decision to leave the Pro Tour and go down to the Pro Continental level. We thought we should ask him why.

PEZ: Why move, Steve?
I have a contract with Garmin through 2011 but you have to make decisions in your career and I could see the team getting even bigger with the Cervelo merger and the incoming guys have mostly been Classics riders.

If I want to develop my career then I can’t just continue to be a domestique.

I may be going from Pro Tour to Pro Continental but I’ll be in a position with more responsibility and not just working for the team.

Sometimes you have to take two steps back to take three forward – I see the new team like Slipstream was three years ago.

The move to NetApp will signify a new period in Cozza’s career and a hoped for transition from domestique to leader.

PEZ: Tell us about the new team, Steve.
NetApp it’s a German team but the sponsor comes from California – they’re a data storage company, very big, for example they hold Face Book and YouTube’s data.

The team is continental at the moment but are going Pro Continental with 14 riders and a view to eventually going Pro Tour in 2013 – I’ve signed for two years.

Jens Heppner is the DS – he’s a man I’ll learn a lot from and I have a lot to learn.

Very important for us – with having a Californian sponsor – will be the Tour of California and Tour of Colorado.

I think that with the demise of Milram we’ll get a lot of attention because we’re now the only German team.

Cozza has always been a great time trialist – look for more in 2011.

PEZ: Your 2010 season was compromised by injury, wasn’t it?
Yes, but for the most part of the last two seasons I’ve been working as a domestique, I’ve enjoyed it but it’s time to move on, be adventurous.

I’ve been with Jonathan Vaughters for four years and it’s been great; I’ll miss my Garmin team mates but I’m excited about getting to know my new team mates.

PEZ: What’s been the highlight of your time at Garmin?
The team gave me my introduction to European professional racing; I came to live in Girona and learned how to be a pro cyclist.

The high points were riding the Classics; Roubaix, Flanders and last year I got to ride the Ardennes races – the Fleche and Amstel.

I’m looking forward to taking that experience to NetApp with me.

Cozza has proved a great teammate for riders like Tyler Farrar on Garmin – next year, it will be his turn to take over the reins as the go to guy.

PEZ: Is season 2010 over for you?
No, I still have the Franco-Belge and Paris – Tours to ride.

PEZ: There must have been a lot of nervous guys at Garmin when the merger was announced?
There were a lot of nervous guys on the team, yes, but you have to understand that there’s a business side to cycling and JV had to use the opportunity with Cervelo to strengthen his team.

As for the team dynamics, they won’t affect me but I think if the programme is broad enough it should avoid any conflict between Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd – they’re different types of sprinters.

PEZ: What’s the vibe in the peloton with the loss of Milram, the Garmin/Cervelo merger and Bbox probably not going to survive?
But you have to remember that Fly V are coming in and so is the Luxembourg team – and teams like NetApp are moving up.

The media tend to concentrate on the negatives; I don’t think the situation is as bad as it’s made out to be.

The scene outside the NetApp camp at the recent Championship of Flanders.

PEZ: But it’s a tough time, do you have an agent to help you?
Yes, Martijn Berkhout, we talked as soon as I heard about the merger with Cervelo.

Every rider wants the opportunity to lead a team; and for a team to have the confidence in me to allow that is a great boost to my confidence.

PEZ: Will you be wintering in Girona?
I’ll be based in Girona for 2011 but will be back in California for November and December; I’ll return for our Euro team training camp in November – and there’s another one in Murcia in January.

When I’m in California I’m going to take time to visit NetApp, I’m not a computer guy but I’d like to see their operation and learn about it.

PEZ: Will you be changing any aspects of your training with your new role?
I’ve been working with Dario Frederick from Whole Athlete for five years now and our winter goals are about all round strength and base – endurance.

In January we add intensity with more snap to the riding – I’ve always been good in time trials and will be doing work to strengthen that aspect of my riding.

Cozza gets a kiss from his girlfriend, Jen Caudill, before a stage start at the Tour of California this year.

PEZ: Goals for 2011?
Hopefully we’ll get into Roubaix and Flanders; I’d really like to ride those races, again.

Early season we have the Tour of the Med, Murcia, and Paris – Nice but our major goal, with having a local sponsor, is the Tour of California.

Prior to California I’ll be preparing at altitude and a stage win is the big objective.

Cozza is at home on the cobbles – hopefully NetApp can score some Wild Cards to the big Spring Classics in 2011.

PEZ: How about that shark fishing?
Oh yeah, still fishing! After the two UCI races in Canada I was home in California for a few days and went fishing with my dad – I caught a 30 lb catfish.

I always let them go, though – and no puns please about big fish and little pools or the like!

Pun? What pun?

PEZ: And most importantly – what’s the moustache position at the new team?
Well, new team, new image – but when the success starts to come, I think I’ll bring back the moustache!

With thanks to Steve for his time, we’ll be keeping an eye out for NetApp in those 2011 results.

Steven Cozza to join the German Team NetApp for 2011

Filed under: On the Road Again — Tags: — admin @ 9:39 am

By Steve FrothinghamUpdated: Sep 24th 2010 12:34 PM EDT

Stage 4, Amgen Tour of California 2010 Cozza leading a chase at the 2010 Tour of California. He hopes to return to his home-state race with his new squad in 2011. 

American Steven Cozza will switch from Garmin-Transitions to a developing German team, NetApp, for the 2011 season. 

The Californian all-rounder and classics specialist told VeloNews Friday that he had another year on his contract with the Garmin team, where he has spent his entire pro career so far. 

But the team’s merger with Cervelo, which has brought a number of classics riders to the organization, caused him to look around at other opportunities. 

“The merger of the two teams has been very stressful for a lot of guys,” said Cozza, the 2005 U.S. U23 time trial champion. 

Team NetApp has been a UCI Continental registered team, but is stepping up to Pro Continental status for 2011. The team plans to race in that category for two seasons and then step up to the ProTour for the 2013 season, Cozza said. 

“I will definitely have a full race schedule; I will probably race more than I would have with Garmin next year. And not only that but I will be able to race more for myself; I look forward to that,” the 25-year-old said. “I learned a lot from JV (Garmin director Jonathan Vaughters), it’s a very professional team. NetApp reminds me of Slipstream four years ago. It will be cool to be the underdogs again.” 

While the team is based in Germany, NetApp is a California-based data storage company. Cozza said the team is hoping for an invitation to the 2011 Tour of California, where winning a stage will be a major goal for Cozza. 

Team director Ralph Denk said Cozza was a key signing. “Steven Cozza was a preferred candidate. He is not just a great guy, but someone who will help us to realize new sporting achievements with his ProTour experience,” Denk said in a team statement. 

Training Hard, Resting Hard and Focused

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 12:20 pm
July 17, 2010
Written by Steven Cozza

Finally a new report! My apologies for not keeping my fans and friends up to date.

In July while the Tour de France is in full force, there aren’t very many other races going on. This means its been a July of hard training, hard resting and going swimming with Jen at the beach on my recovery days. I have never spent July in Spain and let me tell you it’s hot, hot, hot. In the winter, Jen and I were wishing for summer and now in the summer, we’re missing winter.

Paris Roubaix - Steven, "I love the fans. I love the cobbles. I love the Paris Roubaix."

My training rides have been long and intense with a mix of recovery rides when needed. I’ve been really working on my time trial bike a lot and am starting to feel so dialed in. My coach, Dario, wrote me the perfectly balance workout plan and I am feeling confident now going into my first race back the Brixia Tour in Italy. Also, on some of the longer hot days I have been fortunate to have Carlos, one of our sports phyios, come out with me for bottles, lactate testing and a bit of time out of the wind. I really thrive off of a routine schedule and this July it’s been like this: wake up around 7:30, ride at 8:30 to beat most the heat, get back, kick back and watch my teammates kick butt in the TDF (a race I still dream of competing in one day).

I could write an essay already about what I’ve seen at this year’s TDF. It’s been so extreme with crashes, fist fights and head butting – along with many positive things like sunflowers, Ryder fighting for top 10, Tyler sprinting it out with all he’s got even with a broken wrist, and on and on.

I can go on forever about the race and how much it inspires me, but I also have to mention how much I look down on the fist fight after the race and the head butts thrown by Mark Renshaw in the last kilometers of Stage 10. First and foremost, it’s a horrible example for kids watching the race. Next thing you know, my mom’s going to have her kindergarteners throwing head butts at other kids in the sponge races held at recess. As professional athletes we must be good examples for children. It’s a responsibility that is put on us by our position. Lets teach children about being good sports, not how to hit someone in a fit of anger. I also think the two guys fighting after the race were inappropriate and they too should have been kicked out of the race for such a display of poor sportsmanship. Cycling is a dangerous sport and there is going to be bumping and jostiing for position, but these acts were clearly violent and bullish acts. I’m all about fair play and these acts aren’t by any means fair. If any racer at the TDF breaks the ASO’s rules, they should be held accountable. We all make mistakes in our lives. Hopefully all involved will learn from their errors in judgement.

Ok, enough said on that subject. It is important that I try to keep focusing most of my energy on my training and racing. With still 3 months of the season left, I’m really looking forward to the up and coming races. I have made many goals for myself and I’m doing all I can to be ready to meet them. The next race I have is Brixia, then Tour of Denmark and the Eneco Tour.

I will be sure to keep everyone more updated as the fall comes closer. I hope I can give my fans and my Race For Kids program a win in the near future. I have worked my butt off and will do my best to continue achieving my goals.


Flying into Form at the Delta Tour, Stage 1

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Steven The Stache Ready Set Go 2010

June 12, 2010
Written by: Steven Cozza

We had awesome teamwork today at the Delta Tour. Very cool how well we all rode together and as a result, we helped get Tyler into the leader’s jersey. Timmy, Travis and I led Tyler out for the last time bonus sprint and blew the field to pieces. Additionally, three of our guys, including Tyler, got away in a break of 12 with just 20k to go.

As I said, it was a great day for team Garmin Transitions. The best part is, I had good legs for the first time in a long time. I’m Very excited to be feeling the form coming on. I’m really looking forward to all the racing in August, September and October – my 3 favorite racing months.

Man… there’s a lot of wind in Holland.


Jennifer Caudill Column: Nacki Snackies — Life with Amgen Tour rider Steven Cozza

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 8:34 pm

May 21, 2010


By Jennifer Caudill

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of columns by Jennifer Caudill. Caudill is an accomplished writer, photographer and journalist who lives in Girona, Spain, with her boyfriend, Garmin-Transitions professional cyclist, Steven Cozza.

Steven and Jen on an easy ride Steven and Jen on an easy rideHave you ever heard of Nackis? A Nacki is a popular snack food in Spain and I’m addicted to them. They’re thin rice cakes covered with what you first believe to be vanilla yogurt. Only after forming an addiction do you realize the so-called sabor (“yogurt” in Spain) is white chocolate. Yes, I have been eating rice cakes covered in white chocolate for breakfast for the last two months. Devious Spaniards. They got me hooked.

Well, it’s May now and I’m back in the U.S., snackin’ on a Nacki. I brought back several bags of these things to distribute to friends and family so they could experience the goodness, however, I hoarded nearly every bag due to my obvious addiction.

Now where was I? Oh, yes, an angry volcano, Santa Claus, and bike riding…

It was April and time for Steven and I to move into our new/permanent apartment in Girona. We had bounced around for a month after learning the place we had our hearts set on wasn’t available till April. It has a terrace big enough to hold a soccer match and a killer panoramic view of both the city and the mountains. We were actually able to move in on March 31st, which was lucky, because Steven got called up to head out for a group of Classics on April 1st. After less than 24 hours in our new place, he kissed me goodbye and began his journey north for the cobbles.

We were supposed to be apart for nine days, which quickly turned into 16 and then eventually, because of volcano ash and yet another collarbone break on the team, it rounded out at 21 days — three solid weeks. I had even planned a trip to watch the Amstel Gold race, but my plans were quashed by the gigantic ash cloud covering most of Europe. Traveling was chaos for the riders, staff and their families. It could have been a tough time for me to get through, but come on — I was in Spain. Spring had sprung, I had made some incredible friends and had little responsibility except for lots of unpacking to do in the new digs.

For me, unpacking was a little like Christmas morning where Santa Claus is a professional bike rider and the gifts under the tree are all really cool bicycle schwag. In the spare bedroom where Steven had dumped loads of bags that had basically been in storage for eight months, I spent days up to my knees uncovering hidden treasures. What does a pro cyclist accumulate over the years? I found a brand new Garmin watch, an entire bag filled with a variety of unopened Pearl Izumi socks, a couple of not-currently-sponsored pairs of sunglasses, yet another bag overflowing with 2009 team-issued clothing, heart-rate monitors, yoga DVDs, exercise equipment, etc. Oh, and I also found a couple of old mustache combs… disturbing items, even for a live-in girlfriend. But hey, there’s a lot of grooming involved when it comes to the ‘stache.

Every good ride includes a rest stop Every good ride includes a rest stopAfter sifting through the mounds of gear and getting the apartment in some semblance of order, a reward was in order for me being so utterly organized. I called my friend and fellow American pro-cyclist significant other, Soorya Louder, and we planned a leisurely two-hour ride through the Girona countryside. From the assortment of goodies now neatly put away in the spare room, I took the Garmin Forerunner, complete with GPS, some comfy new Pearl Izumi socks (size Medium… I figured that’s why Steven hadn’t opened them. He has really large feet), an older Garmin jersey, a cool pair of sunglasses and a new water bottle. Soorya showed up for our ride appropriately snazzy in BMC attire and we were off for some chit-chat, scenery and the customary café stop mid-ride!

For those three weeks while Steven was busting his butt in Flanders, Roubaix, Amstel, etc., I was finding my own form in the hills of Girona. I was in good company as well. Several of the women living in Girona (whether girlfriends, fiancées or wives) enjoy riding. Some began riding well before their relationships and others picked up the activity after becoming surrounded by the sport. Either way, it helps us all to experience the region on our own. It gives a sense of freedom, independence and accomplishment to spend a day exploring and pushing our own limits without the aid of our bicycling dudes.

I began riding about five years ago, but eventually city life in Atlanta swallowed me up and I forgot about my bicycle for nearly 2 years. Getting back into it these last few months has made me unbelievably giddy, like reuniting with a long-lost love. Plus, when Steven is home, now I’m fit enough to hang with him on his “easy” rides (okay — he probably goes way easier because I’m along!). Anyway, it’s great to be able to spend that time together and I get in a hard workout for the day, since Steven’s easy days aren’t all that easy, in my amateur opinion.

Being back on the bike myself, Steven and I would chat in the evenings while he was away about compelling (nerdy) topics such as cadence and hydration and whether or not it is wasteful to pedal on a downhill. Typically, after brutal racing conditions and suitcase-living in hotels for weeks on end, Steven prefers conversation on topics other than his work day. After getting to know a few of the ladies of the peloton, I gather this preference is typical among the guys when they’re on the road. Steven enjoys hearing what sorts of benevolent trouble I’m getting myself into, such as which routes are my favorites, which of my new friends have been brave enough to explore with me, what I’ve conjured for dinner, and what Spanish oddities I have photographed. It is comforting to him to know that after all I left behind in the states, I have made a new and exciting life in Spain — with him, and also with new Girona friends while he is racing all over the world.

Jen, on the left, helps congratulate stage 4 winner Francesco Chicchi Jen, on the left, helps congratulate stage 4 winner Francesco Chicchi 

While I was enjoying the weather and getting into shape, Steven was making some serious progress of his own. With a delayed season start caused by his February crash and recovery, he struggled a bit early in the Classics from not having many race days in his legs. I’ve learned that training gets them only part way to form — it’s racing that really puts the edge on. This early lack of an “edge” made for difficult post-race conversation because he was feeling down and I didn’t know how to cheer him up.

Thankfully — as I have written before — attitudes, health, and plans change daily in this sport. In no time, Steven began to return from racing in the evenings with more positive words. His form was returning and along with it came confidence. He was thrilled with his effort in helping Tyler win Scheldeprijs. Later, Ryder took second at Amstel and Steven was not only able to bring him to the front for climbs, but Steven also finished the race himself, having felt strong nearly the entire way. Oh, the joy of racing in good form — for everyone involved!

 The Nackis are gone now. I snack a lot when I’m writing and those sweet and crispy morsels were the last of the loot I brought with me to the States. There’s no time to mourn, because it’s hectic here as usual. Within 48 hours after arrival, I was promptly booked with Lands End swimwear to do a fashion segment on Better Mornings Atlanta, CBS. The moment that gig was over, I switched gears and began rounds to visit with friends and family.

Before heading to the Amgen Tour of California where I was invited to represent the race as a podium hostess. Steven is racing and the whole Cozza clan is there. It’s great being in California again – in the company of the racers, the fans, friends from races past and Steven’s wonderful family.

See you out West – if you can manage keep up!

Jen Caudill graduated from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism, has worked in creative advertising for Turner Broadcasting Company and published several travel memoirs. She is a recreational cyclist and an avid runner. Jen also serves as a podium hostess for North American cycling races as well as a fashion and editorial model for her modeling agency based in Atlanta.

Amgen Tour of California: Cozza Stage 2

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Tour of California Steven leading the break 2009

May 17, 2010
Written by Steven Cozza

I was strong today in the ATOC, but crashed on rainy descent. I’m ok, but it made me lose contact with the front group and some skin. I was given maybe 4 jackets to take back on the last climb too. Been working hard for the team. I will get stronger and stronger as the race goes on.

It was nice to be visited by my little Race for Kids Fan Club buddy Aaron Phelps before the start in Davis, California.

We Made It to the Top of the World: Memories from Nepal

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Namesti to you from Mt Chomolungma (Mt. Everest)

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

 “Om Mani Padme Hum” (Hail the jewel in the lotus) is a six syllable mantra of Avlokiteswara, one who is involked as the savior and the protector from danger. One who recites this mantra, will be saved from all dangers and will be protected.

Mustache for a Cause

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 1:11 pm

Hey guys check this out! Philip Darden, a cyclist is using his Stache to raise money for the international program Right to Play.

Philip, Says, “Using My Mustache for a Good Cause.”

Steven Cozza, says, “Go Philip! Sign up for my Race for Kids Fan Club! Way to be creative in reaching out to help children across the world! I’m behind you all the way.”


Cozza “Faster Than a Shadow” Tour of California 2009

"I'm so fast my shadow can't keep up with me."

Five Classics Down and One to Go

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 2:03 pm

Cozza Grinding It Out Tour of Flanders

April 20, 2010
Written by
Steven Cozza

This past Sunday I raced the Amstel Gold race. My job for the race was to work for our two leaders Michel and Ryder. I did a lot of work moving Ryder up and out of the wind all day. He likes to be moved up on the climbs, so that made it even more of a job! I had very good legs and can say my old fast legs are back! I just need the 200 plus k races now to get me the endurance. I was really strong until about 210k and then the batteries died… haha. Ryder came through for the team and came in 2nd for the race. What a great day for the team. I absolutely love the race and look forward to more of it in the future.

Poor Timmy Duggan, my teammate, crashed and broke his collarbone. Since he is out, I will stay now for La Fleche Wallone. Fleche is 200k and will be the perfect race for me right now. I will put in a great effort helping the team to victory there.

This will make it three weeks on the road in Belgium and living in hotels. I’m really happy to be getting these great races in my legs because it will pay off for the Tour of California and later in the year, but I miss Jen. I was only able to spend one day in our new apartment before leaving on the road.

Once this set of races comes to a close, my near future goals are to be super-strong at the Tour of California and the races to follow. I will have some hard training following Fleche for the 3 weeks till the TOC. On May 3rd, I leave back to California and that will be awsome because I’ll get to see my family and friends again. Its been four months now and quite some time for Jen too.

I have to say I’m quite impressed with how well she has adopted this new lifestyle. What a change of scenery and pace it must be for her. When I get back to Girona, we’re going to pick out some cruiser bikes we can use to navigate the city. It’s a pretty nice way to recover the legs to after all these 200 plus km classics, plus it will help Jen get from point A to point B much more quickly, as she has made a lot of friends over here already.
The erupting Volcano in Iceland is causing havioc for travelers all over the world. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the winds will change and it will all blow away. I may be taking the train back thursday instead of flying. What an awful adventure that would be.

Thanks to all my fans for all the support,


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