Pro biker dies aged 37, two days after winning championship

Professional bike rider Rab Wardell died on Tuesday, just two days after winning the MTB XC Championships in Scotland.

He was 37.

Scottish Cycling confirmed the news and stated there is “little information” at this time, the NY Post reports.

“We ask that you respect Rab’s family’s privacy at this incredibly sad time,” the group said.

Stream Over 50 Sports Live & On-Demand with Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

Wardell’s girlfriend, Olympic cycling medallist Katie Archibald, said Wardell went into cardiac arrest while the two were lying in bed together.

“I still don’t understand what’s happened; if this is real; why he’d be taken now? So healthy and happy,” Archibald shared on her verified Twitter account.

“He went into cardiac arrest while we were lying in bed. I tried and tried, and the paramedic 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. Thank you to those making tributes. I can’t bear to talk about him in the past tense to say anything myself. You mean everything to me, Rab. I love you.”

Rab Wardell with Katie Archibald.Source: Instagram

Wardell had just appeared on BBC Scotland’s “The Nine” show on Monday to discuss winning the championship race on Sunday in Dumfries and Galloway.

“I guess I still felt confident that I’d be able to catch the leaders and win,” Wardell said, “so I just gave it my best shot. What more can you do?”

Sir Chris Hoy tweeted: “Can’t believe this. Utterly heartbreaking. Rest in peace Rab.”

Olympic mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock said of Wardell: “I didn’t know him personally but by all accounts he seems like a lovely guy and it’s pretty devastating.

“All I can say is my thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Former road racer and Scot David Millar tweeted: “So very sad to learn of Rab Wardell leaving us. Properly hard to comprehend.”

Wardell, a Glasgow native, began racing mountain bikes as a teenager, but only turned pro earlier this year.

The Scottish Cross Country Association, which runs the MTB XC Championships, said Wardell’s death was the “saddest news” in a statement on Facebook.

“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,” the SXC statement read.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission