28 year-old South African rider Ryan Cox has died from a ruptured leg artery. The Barloworld rider was taken to Gauteng Hospital on Monday after the main artery in his left leg burst – a complication from an operation he underwent on July 4th in France. But doctors in Gauteng were unable to save him, and he passed away at 5:15 on Wednesday morning.
According to a News24 report, Cox had been having problems with a loss of power in his left leg. He saw a doctor in France who diagnosed him with a constricted iliac artery – a problem that the doctor had successfully fixed in 600 cyclists, including Australian Stuart O’Grady. Cox was lent money for the operation by his teammate Robert Hunter. After undergoing surgery, he returned home to South Africa to recover. But his friend and coach, Clint Curtis, speculated that Cox discharged himself too early because he was afraid of the costs.
A few weeks after coming home, his condition deteriorated and he was taken to hospital on Monday, where doctors tried to repair a ruptured artery in his leg. According to reports, his heart stopped several times on Tuesday, and eventually he died after blood seeped into other areas of his body.
His team manager, Claudio Corti, was shocked at the news, especially after Barloworld’s extremely successful Tour de France where they won two stages and the king of the mountains jersey.
“Ryan was an extremely talented rider who excelled in the international cycling arena,” said Corti on the team’s website. “He has represented his country with great skill and pride, and has always been looked upon as a great ambassador for South African cycling.”
Cox was born April 9, 1979. He turned professional in 2000 with Amore e Vita, then rode for Team Cologne in 2001 and 2002 before signing for Barloworld in 2003. He has had seven victories to date, with his most significant wins including the South African National Road Championship in 2004 and 2005, the Tour of Qinghai Lake in 2004 and the Tour de Langkawi in 2005.