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Garmin-Transitions' Steven Cozza signs autographs
American to focus attention on Classics, Amgen Tour of California
With Steven Cozza set to ride for Team NetApp in 2011 the American is already preparing to take on more responsibility within the German Pro Continental team as they aim to become ProTour by 2013.
Cozza joins a list of Garmin riders that includes Danny Pate, Timmy Duggan, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Ricardo van der Velde, Trent Lowe, Svein Tuft and Christian Meier who will be riding for new teams in 2011.
Cozza's move to the promising German team will mark a new chapter in his career as the 25-year-old intends to focus on the Classics and the Amgen Tour of California, where he hopes to win a stage.
"As we all now Garmin and Cervélo merged and they took a lot of the Classics riders as part of the package. I started talking to my agent and it came to a point where I had a contract through to 2011 but with all the new Classics riders the squad looked to be too big," Cozza told Cyclingnews.
"The opportunity to do those races wasn't really available for me and I saw an opportunity and decided to switch teams."
The move will also allow Cozza to share greater responsibility. Having raced some of the biggest races in Europe, Cozza will be one of the German team's most experienced riders.
"You might think it's crazy going from a ProTour team to a Pro Continental team but sometimes you've got to take two step backwards to take two steps forward. I've learnt so much the four years I've raced with Jonathan Vaughters. I've been able to do the best races in the world with guys like Christian Vande Velde so I'm looking to take that experience to the team and help them grow. If anything they're a bit like how Slipstream was three years ago."
Despite Team NetApp having a base in Maastricht, Cozza will keep his European base in Girona, Spain where most of his former teammates are based. His usual training rides will not be effected, meaning he'll still be out on the roads with the riders he has built such strong relationships.
"It's definitely sad to be leaving a lot of my teammates but it's part of cycling and I'm looking forward to the change and fitting in with the new guys I'll be racing with."
With his last race for Garmin-Transitions still to come Cozza has one eye on next year's racing programme as well as fitting in with his new teammates.
"They're an international team. They only have six Germans but the language spoken will be English and there are guys from all over the world there and that's a great dynamic. It's a bit like the Columbia team in that sense.
"As for my racing programme, I'm looking forward to Murcia and the Tour Méditerranéen, Paris-Nice, some of the Classics and the Tour of California which is the first big goal. I'd love to go there and I'll be shooting to win a stage. I'll have more opportunities to race for myself when my form is good."