Professional Cyclist Dies in His Sleep 2 Days After Winning Championship Race


Rab Wardell, a 37-year-old Scottish cycling champion, died suddenly on Tuesday.

Wardell was lying in bed with his partner Katie Archibald on Tuesday morning when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest and passed away, NBC News reported.

His death came just two days after Wardell won the Scottish MTB XC Championships, a mountain biking race, in Dumfries and Galloway, the BBC reported.

Archibald tried to save Wardell, but could not.

“I tried and tried, and the paramedics arrived within minutes, but his heart stopped and they couldn’t bring him back. Mine stopped with it. I love him so much and need him here with me. I need him here so badly, but he’s gone. I can’t describe this pain,” Archibald tweeted.

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Wardell was born and raised in Dunfermline and began cycling and mountain biking when he was 15 years old, according to his online biography.

“If it has two wheels and handlebars then I’m probably going to like it,” he wrote.

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“As soon as I started mountain biking in my teens I fell in love with the adrenaline rush and adventure of being outside. I still love to ride, race, and train, and seek out adventures, challenges, and races that excite me,” his bio continues.

Many in the cycling world have been saddened by the news of Wardell’s death and are mourning his loss.

“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,” British Cycling tweeted.

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Fellow Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy, who has won seven Olympic medals for Great Britain, also tweeted in memory of Wardell.

“Such a kind, talented, funny guy who you’ll never ever hear a bad word about. I’ve just watched this to remind me of him at his best. Rest in peace Rab,” Hoy wrote.

Singletrack, a major publication for biking news, also paid its respects at the passing of Wardell, sympathizing with his friends and family over his loss.

“Just as he had it all to look forward to, with us along for the ride, he was taken away. My love and sympathy goes out to his many friends, peers and his family. A true champ has left us,” Chipps Chippendale, Editor at Large of Singletrack, commented.

Wardell’s close friend Rob Friel told the BBC that he was “numb with shock” over Wardell’s death.

“Rab had a contagious energy in everything he did and was a really well-liked figure in Scottish cycling,” Friel said.

“Rab always wanted to ride, but he was an amazing coach too. He could coach an elite rider or he could coach a beginner or a child,” he added.  “Whatever the discipline or whatever the level, he could tune in to you.”

Friel also paid tribute to just how talented and versatile a cyclist Wardell was.

“He raced at the top level in road, mountain bike and enduro – but he also learned how to do a back flip on the bike,” Friel said. “Not many people can do all that.”

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