Former South African track cycling legend Garen Bloch, 39, died tragically in a motorbike accident in Johannesburg on Saturday night.
The younger brother of Sean Bloch, also a former SA pro track cyclist, Bloch began cycling in 1992, aged 14.
He went on to win 21 South African championships, set 12 African records and won four World Cup medals.
Bloch represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, where he came eighth in the men’s 1000m time-trial.
By 2003, Bloch was ranked third in the world, before having to withdraw from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games due to injury.
Bloch then beat drug and alcohol addiction, before becoming a counsellor at the Meteffect Recovery Centre in Polokwane. Over the last couple of years Bloch became an avid martial artist.
Mario Nell, a former track cyclist who used to compete with Bloch’s older brother Sean, was saddened by the news.
“It is really sad to lose a guy his age, who still had his whole life ahead of him,” Nell said. “Whatever he did, he gave it his all and he was such a good person. He will definitely be missed.”
A long-time family friend of the Bloch family, Johnny Koen, also extended his condolences to his passing.
“It was very sad that he had to leave the world so suddenly, with many years ahead of him. I remember him particularly as a very classy cyclist and I extend my most sincere condolences to the Bloch family, specifically his father Mervyn and mother Sandra.”