Saturday 5 January 2013

Pierre Cogan, 1914-2013

Pierre Cogan
10.01.1914 - 05.01.2013
Pierre Cogan - who had, for several years, been the oldest living person to have competed in the Tour de France - died in Auray, Brittany during the night of January 4th/5th, reports L'Equipe.

Born in the same town on the 10th of January in 1914, Cogan turned professional with the Roold-Wolber team in 1935 before switching to the famous F. Pelissier-Mercier-Hutchinson team a year later and remaining with them through various sponsorship and name changes until 1943. He then raced with various top teams until 1952, when he continued as an Individual for one year before retiring.

He enjoyed a career that spanned two great eras in the history of professional cycling - in the early days, he raced against Georges Speicher, Charles Pelissier and Romain Maes; at the end he raced against Jean Robic, Hugo Koblet and  Raphaël Geminiani. Remarkably, he was able to remain competitive throughout - he was eleventh in the General Classification at the 1935 Tour de France, fifteen years later in 1950 he was seventh (the victorious rider in 1950, Ferdy Kübler, is the oldest living Tour winner) and a year later he took third place on Stage 21 and was 19th overall at his seventh and final Tour. Had he not have been one of the generation of riders to lose his best years to the Second World War, he might now be remembered as a Tour champion.

Among his other victories, Cogan won Stage 1 at Paris-Nice and the GP Ouest France in 1936, the GP des Nations in 1937, the Military National Road Race Championship in 1938 and Stage 4 at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 1948 in addition to numerous smaller races; he also picked up an impressive selection of second and third place results.

Cogan, along with every living rider to have completed a Tour, was due to attend the final stage of the 2013 race as a guest of honour to celebrate the 100th edition. The title of oldest living Tour rider now passes to Albert Bourlon, born on the 23rd of November 1916 - Cogan's team mate at Mercier-Hutchinson in 1937.

Pierre Cogan's Tour palmares
1935: 11th
1936: 16th
1947: 12th
1948: abandoned in Stage 12
1949: 10th
1950: 7th
1951: 19th

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