Rab Wardell: Mountain bike champion, 37, dies in his sleep 2 days after winning elite men's title
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND: The 37-year-old mountain cycling athlete Rob Wardell died in his sleep on August 23. This tragedy took place just a couple of days after he won the Scottish title in mountain biking. At the Scottish MTB XC Championships' fourth round that started on August 21, Wardell took home the elite men's trophy with 120 points.
Scottish Cycling announced the unfortunate news on Twitter, saying, "We are devastated to confirm the news that international mountain biker & former employee, Rab Wardell, has passed away today. We have very little information at this stage, but we send our love & support to his family, friends & all those in our community who knew him. We ask that you respect Rab’s family’s privacy at this incredibly sad time."
We are devastated to confirm the news that international mountain biker & former employee, Rab Wardell, has passed away today.— Scottish Cycling (@ScottishCycling) August 23, 2022
We have very little information at this stage, but we send our love & support to his family, friends & all those in our community who knew him (1/2) pic.twitter.com/yWmK1vuriQ
Rab's partner and olympian British cyclist, Katie Archibald, stated how the events of his death unfolded in a series of Twitter posts.
I think you've heard that Rab died yesterday morning.— Katie Archibald (@_katiearchibald) August 24, 2022
I still don't understand what's happened; if this is real; why he'd be taken now - so healthy and happy.
He went into cardiac arrest while we were lying in bed. I tried and tried, and the paramedics... /1
Rab passed away merely days after winning in Dumfries and Galloway, where he came in first place despite having to withstand three tire punctures. In an interview with BBC's The Nine on August 22, he said, "To be honest, it was a bit of a disaster, but I just have to keep on trucking and keep racing. I guess I still felt confident that I'd be able to catch the leaders and win, so I just gave it my best shot—what more can you do? "
Mountain biker Rab Wardell has died in his sleep aged 37 - two days after winning the Scottish championship.— The Nine (@BBCScotNine) August 23, 2022
He was on The Nine just last night speaking about his win.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family. https://t.co/WicdBkGJ8d pic.twitter.com/eaH5NJpae9
In addition to his victory over the weekend, Rab established a new milestone for the shortest duration to complete the West Highland Way in 2020. The cycling world has been heartbroken by the revelation of his passing, and condolences are flooding in.
The tragedy was regarded as the worst news by the Scottish Cross Country Association, which organizes mountain biking competitions. The SXC wrote in a message on Facebook, "We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion, Rab Wardell, has died overnight. Our deepest sympathy to his friends, family, and loved ones. He will be truly missed by our community and his determination, talent and friendship will live on in all our hearts and memories. I’m sure more eloquent words will be written by many but RIP Rab. Our Champion, Our Inspiration, Our Friend."
British Cycling also posted a tribute, saying, "Everybody at British Cycling is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Rab Wardell. Rab was a brilliant rider, friend, and ambassador for our sport, and will be sorely missed by so many. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this incredibly difficult time."
Commonwealth Games Team Scotland expressed in a statement, "We are very saddened to learn of the passing of Rab Wardell, who competed for Team Scotland in Melbourne 2006. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."