By Tim Maloney, European Editor
91 year-old Giordano Cottur died today in his hometown of Trieste, Italy. Cottur was one of the historical figures of Italian cycling and was three times third at the Giro d'Italia, behind Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. Last Sunday, Cottur entered the Salus Clinic in Trieste and passed away this morning.
Cottur signed his first pro contract in 1938, where he won the Lanciano stage in the Giro d'Italia. In a recent interview, Cottur told the Gazzetta dell Sport that "I remember well the World Championships that were scheduled for Varese, Italy in 1939. In our last training session, the coach was Alfredo Binda. In our last training session, with 60 km to go, he said 'go for it and let's see who is first back at the hotel'. I dropped everybody and got a lot of compliments from Binda and Bartali because I was first back to the hotel. But the day before the race, we got a telegram: World Championship suspended due to war." WW2 took Cottur's best years, but as soon as the Giro d'Italia started up again in 1946, he won the first stage from Milano to Torino and wore the first post-WW2 Maglia Rosa.
Giordano Cottur was born in Trieste on May 24, 1914, when the city was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Cottur was a professional cyclist from 1938 to 1949, and on top of his three podium placings in 1940, 1948 and 1949, he won five Giro d'Italia stages, including the historic stage to Trieste that was cancelled due to popular protests on June 30, 1946. In total, Cottur wore the Maglia Rosa on 14 occasions.