Tribute, August 2, 2007
April 9, 1979 - August 1, 2007
Team Barloworld's Ryan Cox died early Wednesday morning, August 1, in Kempton Park hospital in Johannesburg. The 28 year-old rider had undergone an operation in France on July 4 to treat a blood flow problem but his condition deteriorated on Monday.
Clint Curtis, Cox's junior coach and a good friend of the late cyclist, said that Cox collapsed at home Monday, where his brother found him and rushed him to the hospital in serious condition. He underwent emergency surgery, receiving several units of blood, but his kidneys and other organs were failing.
Cox had had problems with his leg for some time, sometimes losing feeling in the leg after riding. "Ryan then went to see one of the leading doctors in France. It was found that the artery had, as a consequence of all the cycling, become knotted as sometimes happens to a garden hose, Curtis told news24.com. "It often happens to cyclists because they spend so many hours on the bicycles, with their legs bent while pedalling. The doctor in France has performed surgery of this type on about 600 cyclists, among them Stuart O'Grady, who has worn the yellow jersey in the Tour de France."
Cox was born and lived in Kempton Park, South Africa. He has long been recognised as one of the country's most talented riders and turned professional with the Amore e Vita Beretta team in 2000. He spent two years with Team Cologne and then joined Barloworld in 2003, sharing the team's long term goal of riding the Tour de France. Although Barloworld achieved that target this year, having an excellent campaign thanks to stage wins by his compatriot Robert Hunter and the Colombian Mauricio Soler and also taking the KOM classification, Cox sadly missed out on the chance to be part of the team due to his injury.
He was a strong climber and time trialist and took several important results in the past. In 2003 he won a stage of the Circuit des Mines in France and then the following season won the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the South African road race title, a stage in the Giro del Capo and finished second in the Tour de Langkawi. 2005 saw him go one step higher in winning the Malaysian race, confirming his strong all-round ability. It was an excellent season for him; he also took the Genting Highlands stage there, defended his South African road championship title, won a stage at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, finished second in the Giro del Capo and second in both the UCI Africa and Asia Tours.
His hopes of building on that season with strong performances in European races was hampered when the blood flow problem began to affect his form. 2006 and 2007 were quieter years as a result, although he finished third overall in the 2006 Giro del Capo and fifth this season. He was hoping to return to full fitness and deliver on his potential on the big stage but sadly he will not now get to show his full potential.
Tributes and comments on the death of Ryan Cox
Team Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti: "Ryan was an extremely talented rider who excelled in the international cycling arena," he said. "He has represented his country with great skill and pride, and has always been looked upon as a great ambassador for South African cycling. On behalf of Team Barloworld, our deepest condolences are extended to the Cox family."
Bill Rudell of Cannondale in the US: "Cannondale offers our sympathy and condolences to Ryan's family and friends in this difficult time. The news comes just three days after the team's glorious finish to the Tour de France and puts into perspective the fragility of human life."
Bryan Wilkin in Australia: "I met Ryan only once whilst I was out on a training ride in South Africa but I can tell you that he was a fantastic individual who was always happy to have a chat and a laugh. Having grown up in South Africa and understanding how people like Ryan have to struggle to break free of adversity and the shackles of a very difficult political as well as environmental situation in South Africa. This is a tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends. "
Tommy in the UK, but missing home: "So shocked to hear about the death of Ryan. I Rode with him a few times when I lived in Johannesburg. He was a nice lad and he and Tiaan were always put under pressure to put we amateurs in our place. He was the best our country had and I was so sad that he was unable to make the tour team. But now this. It is so sad for sa cycling. My deepest condolences to Ryan's family."
Steve, Darcel, Gareth and Alison: "Sincere condolences to his family and fiancé – an absolute tragedy. Imprinted on our memory – after victory at Langkawi - passing him in our car – a wave from us - an almost embarrassed big smile and wave from Ryan. Rest in peace."
Darren & Jacky McCallum in Edinburgh, UK: "We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ryan. As an English-speaking rider, we always looked out for his results. We enjoyed watching him race. We watched him at the Tour of Britain. And, of course, Ryan was especially thrilling to watch on the climbs in Langkawi."
The Conteh family in Birmingham,UK: "Please pass on our heartfelt condolences to Ryans family. We are so sorry to read of this very sad and equally unexpected tradgedy. We first saw Ryan on the TV whilst watching Langkawi in 2004 and knew even back then, he was truly a rare talent. To our great delight, he subsequently rode the Tour of Britain and we were very fortunate to see him on the Birmingham stage, wearing the National Championship jersey, at that race. He stopped to chat with us after the event, and we look back on that day now with fondness, to think that such a wonderful King of the Road as Ryan, would spare the time to make a chat with us fans. We will remember him forever-our thoughts,prayers and our hearts are with his family at this very sad time."
Huan Dinh in the US: "I want to send my deepest sympathy to you all, and to let you know that even a cyclist like myself from America knows and understands of Ryan's achievement in the sport of professional cycling. It's hard to understand how a person who is so fit and such a great athlete to have gone at such a young age of 28 years old. I, too, am a cyclist since I was 12 years old, and I am now 34 years old and still ride 20,000 km a year. My thoughts are with you all during this very difficult time. "
Henri Isnard in France: "I am very devastated by this news. Condolences for the family of Ryan."
David Carrion in Puerto Rico, friend and fan: "I would like to say that a great rider has gone to the glory. I am a huge fan of cycling and check every time Cyclingnews website everyday knowing Ryan from that way. I was following his career knowing that he was one of the riders for the future, and I was exited that he was from other country besides France, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Spain and the other main countries of cycling. Like Ryan, I live in a country that cycling is growing and growing and hope one day I could be like him. My deepest condolence to the people close to this great rider... I admire you Ryan Cox!"
Graham Thomas in Ireland: "I just want to extend my deepest sympathies to Ryan's family and friends. I watched Ryan on TV from Ireland when he won the tour of Langkawi and he inspired me every day the way he rode with such heart and panache, and I thank him for that. That tour win has changed the way I race today."
Joe Chase in Austin, Texas: "I was very sorry to hear about Ryan. All the pictures I have seen of him, he had a big smile. My thoughts and prayers are with you. "
Ryan CrawCour: "I knew Ryan as an emerging Junior star on the local circuit; then he moved abroad and started shaking things up on the European circuit. The most amazing thing about Ryan for me was, that through all of his success he stayed so humble and genuine!
How many other multiple national champions and winners of international cycling tours could you walk up to on the street and have a long chat to? How many other pro riders out there would go out riding with a bunch of old mates even though he was probably battling to stay upright we were going so slowly...
I am at a loss for words! He was truly a magic guy! A legend in his own time...
Ryan, we're gonna miss you mate! To Ryan's family, I wish to offer you my deepest condolences at this difficult time. "
YooYee Tham, Sports Journalist, Oriental Daily News, in Malaysia: "Sitting in front of my computer, I was in total shock when learned about Ryan Cox's death. My office is just 300 meters away from Hard Rock Cafe, Kuala Lumpur where Ryan Cox celebrated his victory as overall winner of Tour de Langkawi 2005, after the final stage. I still remember he was dancing happily on the dancing floor celebrating his victory. It was two years ago. The talented rider had been a big name in our local papers' sports section , and a familiar figure on the front pages when he was competing in Tour de Langkawi in the past years. All the Malaysian cycling fans will remember him forever. I would like to send my deepest condolences and full sympathies to Ryan's family, friends and team-mates. "
Peter Marais in Pretoria, South Africa: "It is a sad time in South Africa on hearing the news of Ryan, I would like to send out all prays to the Cox family as well as his fiancée through this difficult time. We are praying and thinking of you all. I have been following Ryan in all his races in Europe and as all of us here in South Africa hold onto his awesome impact he delivered in cycling."
Avi Mistry in South Africa: "It is with deep sympathy that I send my condolences to the Cox family and to his fiancée. I have always admired Ryan Cox as a rider and will deeply miss his presence on many events in the calendar. I am sure that he is in a better place and may God look after one of his better sons !"
Christophe in France: "It's a shock to read this bad news. I live in France and I'm deeply saddened and shocked to hear about the death of Ryan Cox. I would like to express my full sympathies to his family and to all the people who were close to him."
Michele Tomasi in Italy: "I've been a fan of Ryan since I noticed his great results some years back, and I kept an eye on him as he looked very promising. Unluckily, I never got the chance for a talk with him, but once he was riding a race here in the Northeast of Italy, called Giro del Veneto, where I noticed him and yelled, "Allez Ryan!! Allez," and I saw he noticed me and I guess he funnily appreciated it. I just saw the bad news a few minutes ago, and I'm really shocked. Just wanted to share my thoughts and my support to his family."
John Pierce, PhotoSport International, in Bristol, UK: "PhotoSport would like to extend condolences to friends and family of Ryan Cox at this extremely sad time."
Dave McIver in New Zealand: "I read with shock and disbelief the news of Ryan Cox this morning. Please convey my condolences to his friends and family. I followed with great interest the Tour de Langkawi 2005 via CyclingNews.com and his ultimate victory in this event. This news is quite simply a tradgedy and the cycling world has lost an immense talent. "
June and Clive Chapman in the UK: "We would just like to say how sad we were to learn of the passing of Ryan Cox. After a great Tour de France with a stage win and KOM winner, this is such a blow to a great team. Our thoughts are with Ryan's family and the Barloworld Team."
More tributes to Ryan Cox
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