Rab Wardell: Katie Archibald tried in vain to resuscitate partner Rab Wardell before he died
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Wardell died just two days after winning the elite men's title at the Scottish MTB XC Championships in the final round at Kirroughtree near Newton Stewart in Wigtownshire at the weekend.
Archibald, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, tried to save Wardell after he had suffered a cardiac arrest, but was unable to bring him back to life.
The Dunfermline-born rider's girlfriend, who lived with him in Glasgow, said in a social media post her partner had suffered a cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning.
The Olympic champion said she "can't describe" her pain following Wardell’s passing.
In a social media post, she wrote: “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.
“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.”
In completing the record, he shaved around 14 minutes off the record set by Fort William cyclist Gary McDonald just a month earlier.
Wardell represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and was a British Championships medallist, multiple Scottish champion, Race The World USA winner, and a Team Scotland and British Cycling Team representative.
He appeared on BBC Scotland’s The Nine programme on Monday evening – just hours before his death – describing how he overcame three punctures to win the race.
Scottish Cycling said on social media it was "devastated" to confirm the loss of former employee and international mountain biker Wardell.
"We have very little information at this stage, but we send our love and support to his family, friends and all those in our community who knew him," a statement said.
The Scottish Cross Country Association, which runs the mountain bike race series, also released a statement, describing Wardell's death as the “saddest news”.
Their statement read: “"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."
Callum Skinner, an Olympic gold medallist in 2016 from Edinburgh, said: "Some of my earliest memories in the sport featured Rab Wardell, a strong, witty personality who’d help anyone."
A film of Wardell’s West Highland Way mission was made by Cut Media in collaboration with smart training and navigation company Wahoo and California based bike company Santa Cruz.