Garmin-Transitions' Steven Cozza became the second rider to broke his collarbone during stage two of the Tour of Qatar on Monday after Team Sky's Kurt-Asle Arvesen's fracture.
The likeable rider from California hit a pothole in the rough roads and lost control of his bike. Unfortunately he landed on his left shoulder and his collarbone gave way, fracturing in the same point it had during two previous career crashes.
It meant the end of Cozza's race and he will now travel to Belgium to have a plate fitted on his fracture. It will mean more pain, but the hard man of US admitted he did not even take painkiller after his crash.
"It's the third time I've broken my collarbone and in the same place. I'm getting kind of used to it but it's not something I want to get used to," he told Cyclingnews after dinner in the race hotel at the Tour of Qatar.
"I have to get it operated on now because a collarbone never really heals properly. After three breaks in the same place it's about time I get it sorted out so that it doesn't keep breaking."
While Arvesen crashed in the neutralised section of the race, Cozza crashed after 50km when the side winds and high-speed attacks were splitting the peloton into echelons.
"It's so dangerous out there with all the wind and stuff and it happened when the cross-winds started coming and we started racing hard," he said.
"It was a like a war zone and it was every man for himself. I think I hit a bump because there's a lot of potholes out there and my hands slipped off the handlebars. Unfortunately as I went down I took out my teammate Martijn (Maaskant) as well. That's party of cycling but fortunately he's okay."
"It'll make me stronger for the future"
Cozza was disappointed to have crashed out of the early season race but true to character, he stayed optimistic, saying this latest setback will only make him stronger for the future.
"It's not that too bad for me. It's early in the season but fortunately I've got the whole month of February to recover and get going again. I wasn't going to do any other races apart from this and the Tour of Oman. I also trained well this winter, so I'm sure I'll be able to bounce back pretty quickly," he said.
"After I get the procedure done I can hopefully be out training in two days. Not hard training but I'll be back on the bike. I love racing. It's a shame it's the first race of the year but getting down about it doesn't fix anything. I've got to stay positive and I know I'll always come back stronger from these things. Hopefully it'll make me stronger for the future."
Cozza is expected to fly back to Europe on Tuesday and probably undergo surgery as early as Wednesday.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.