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 my web 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.
602nds encourages all readers to support Steven’s cause “Race for Kids Fan Club” .
Photo Courtesy of Kristof Ramon
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