Cyclist Rab Wardell dies two days after winning Scottish title

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Rab WardellImage source, Ben Fitzhugh
Image caption,
Rab Wardell turned professional earlier this year at the age of 37

Mountain biker Rab Wardell has died in his sleep aged 37 - just two days after winning the Scottish championship.

Wardell won the elite men's title at the Scottish MTB XC Championships in Dumfries and Galloway at the weekend.

The rider appeared on BBC Scotland's The Nine programme on Monday evening, describing how he had overcome three punctures to win the race.

The former Commonwealth Games cyclist set a new record time for completing the West Highland Way in 2020.

Wardell, who lived in Glasgow, had been racing mountain bikes since he was a teenager, but only turned professional earlier this year.

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.

Image caption,
Rab Wardell appearing on BBC Scotland's The Nine programme on Monday to talk about his championship win

Recalling the race the day after on The Nine, Wardell 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?"

Scottish Cycling said 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," the organisation said on Twitter.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The Scottish Cross Country Association, which runs the mountain bike race series, said Wardell's death was the "saddest news".

A statement on the association's 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."

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