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British mountain biking champion Rab Wardell dies in his sleep days after winning elite men’s title

Claire Reid

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British mountain biking champion Rab Wardell dies in his sleep days after winning elite men’s title

Mountain biking champion Rab Wardell has died in his sleep aged 37 - just days after he won the Scottish championship. 

Wardell won the elite men's title at the Scottish MTB XC Championships at the weekend. 

Announcing the tragic news, Scottish Cycling wrote: “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.”

His tragic death comes just days after his success in Dumfries and Galloway, after which he told the BBC that he had managed to overcome three punctures to scoop the win. 

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to BBC Scotland’s The Nine on Monday, 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?"

Alongside his win at the weekend, Rab - who had competed in the Commonwealth Games - set a new record time for completing the West Highland Way in 2020. 

News of his death has ‘devastated’ the cycling community, with tributes pouring in. 

The Scottish Cross Country Association, which runs the mountain bike race series, said the death was ‘the saddest news’. 

In a statement on Facebook, the Association wrote: “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.”

A statement from British Cycling said: “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.”

In a post, Commonwealth Games’ Team Scotland wrote: “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.”

Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo/ @rabwardell/Instagram

Topics: UK News, Sport

Claire Reid
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