Mountain biker dies two days after winning title and hours after BBC appearance

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A mountain biker who competed in the Commonwealth Games has died just two days after winning the Scottish championship and hours after appearing on the BBC.

Rab Wardell, 37, tragically died in his sleep overnight, it has been confirmed. Wardell, who lived in Glasgow, triumphed in the men's elite category at the Scottish MTB XC Championships in Dumfries and Galloway at the weekend.

Wardell's passing has come as a huge shock. Only yesterday (Monday 22 August) he appeared on BBC Scotland's The Nine programme as he discussed how he had overcome three punctures to win the title. Tributes have come flooding in for the popular mountain biker following his tragic passing.

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The Scottish Cross Country Association, which operates the mountain bike race series, said they were "devastated" to relay the news of Wardell's death. A statement on their Facebook page said: "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."

Scottish Cycling tweet that it was "devastated" to confirm the death of its 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," they wrote on Twitter.

Wardell also represented Scotland at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and in 2020 set a new record time for finishing the West Highland Way.

His win at Kirroughtree Forest on Sunday was described as a "show of incredible resilience" by British Cycling after Wardell managed to catch the early race leaders to take the win.

Recalling the race the day after on BBC Scotland's The Nine, 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?"

Further tributes were paid to Wardell on social media. Dan Jarvis said: “Rab Wardell. A one-off. A great racer and even greater person. Sitting in shock. He was on such a high after winning the elusive Scottish Elite XC Championship at the weekend. An incredibly gifted rider and coach but, more than that, a lovely man. "My thoughts are especially with his loved ones. There never was anyone else quite like Rab. I don’t think there will be again."

While Ali Burgess said: "A sad day for Scottish mountain biking. Glad to have known you and called you a friend. Rest in peace buddy."


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