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Petaluma’s Cozza in middle of the pack

Petaluma’s Steven Cozza completes stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California Monday while wet and chilly spectators urge him on.

Veronika Lenzi
Published: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 3:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 5:04 p.m.

While most of the area’s attention is focused on Santa Rosa’s Levi Leipheimer and his Team Astana teammate Lance Armstrong, Petaluma’s Steven Cozza is also doing quite well in the rain-drenched Amgen Tour of California.

After the second stage of the tour ended in Santa Cruz Monday, Cozza was 54th out of a field of 128 of the finest bicycle racers in the world.

The start was in sharp contrast to last season when Cozza crashed on the first stage of the tour that in 2008 ran from Sausalito to Santa Rosa.

He battled back from that mishap to end 64th out of 113 finishers.

He finished 10th in the prologue before being clipped from behind and crashing into a ditch on Coleman Valley Road on the tour’s first day. Shaking off the crash, he fought his way back into the race.

Cozza, 24, is riding for Team Gamin-Slipstream. He grew up in Petaluma and was trained by Santa Rosa’s Team Swift Junior Cycling Development Program.

Riding mostly in Europe, he is coming off a successful 2008 season, highlighted by being the first American finisher in the World Road Championships, where he was 23rd overall.

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