After eight World Cup victories and 191 starts, langrenn.com reports that Pietro Piller Cottrer is bowing out of World Cup cross-country ski racing.
An 18-year stalwart of the Italian national team, Piller Cottrer is a four-time Olympian medalist. He took a share of gold in the 2006 Olympic relay; bronze in the 2006 30 km pursuit; silver in the 15 k freestyle in 2010 in Vancouver, and silver in the relay at Salt Lake City in 2002. He took gold in the 15 km freestyle race at the 2005 World Championships, and won the prestigious Holmenkollen 50 km in 1997.
As a 21-year-old, Piller Cottrer had an inauspicious start at the 1995 World Championships in Thunder Bay, ON, finishing 38th in in the 30 km classic event. His greatest successes, including his Olympic and World Championship golds, came in freestyle races or pursuits.
In a hard downhill crash in last month’s Marcialonga injured a tendon in his right knee, which is still not healed. While he’d intended to compete through the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, he instead decided on retirement.
The 38-year-old thinks he can contribute as a mentor to the Italian Team. “When you see other nations, especially the United States women’s team, one sees that they are so strong and also have fun when they compete. I think we can have it so with the Italian team. That would be my goal to help,” he told langrenn.com.