The mountain bike world and British cycling community is mourning the death of newly crowned MTB XC Scottish champion Rab Wardell following a cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning.
Posting on Twitter, Wardell’s partner Olympic Champion Katie Archibald wrote (opens in new tab), “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 arrived within minutes, but his heart stopped and they couldn’t bring him back.”
Wardell, who was 37, made a return to racing this year. Only days before his death he claimed his first Scottish national title at the MTB XC championships despite suffering three punctures during the race.
“To be honest, it was a bit of a disaster,” Wardell said on BBC Scotland (opens in new tab) following the race, “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?”
As well as racing in MTB, Wardell set a record in the West Highland Way (opens in new tab) in 2020, and he also ran his own coaching business – Wardell Cycle Coaching – and spent time working for Scottish Cycling.
Wardell was an admired figure in the cycling community, and social media has been awash with tributes to the Scottish cyclist, with messages of condolence from Olympic cyclists, governing bodies and commentators.
Fellow Scottish cyclist and Olympic champion Callum Skinner wrote, “Sorry to hear of the passing of another great Scottish cyclist. Some of my earliest memories in the sport featured Rab Wardell, a strong, witty personality who’d help anyone.”
British Cycling also paid tribute to Wardell on Twitter, writing, “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.”