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