‘I tried and tried, but his heart stopped’: Olympic gold cyclist Katie Archibald reveals she desperately battled to save dying partner mountain biker Rab Wardell, 37, after he ‘suffered cardiac arrest as they lay in bed’

  • Rab Wardell, 37, died after suffering a cardiac arrest while in bed yesterday
  • His partner, Olympian Katie Archibald, 28, said she desperately tried to save him
  • He won a major mountain biking race on Sunday despite three punctures 

Olympian Katie Archibald, the partner of Scottish mountain bike champion Rab Wardell who died yesterday, shared an emotional post about how she desperately tried to resuscitate him.

The Team GB star attempted to revive the 37-year-old after he suffered a cardiac arrest while lying in bed next to her at their home in Glasgow.

His tragic death on Tuesday morning came just two days after he won the Scottish Cross Country Championship at Kirroughtree Forest near Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire. 

This morning the Olympic gold medalist broke her silence to share how she ‘tried and tried’ to save him and that her heart ‘stopped’ with his.

She tweeted: ‘I think you’ve heard that Rab died yesterday morning.

‘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.’

Olympian Katie Archibald, 28, desperately tried to save her partner Rab Wardell, 37, who died from a cardiac arrest yesterday (pictured together)

Champion Scottish mountain biker Rab Wardell, pictured, died aged 37, just two days after winning a race

The four-time world champion Katie Archibald (left) thanked everyone who had paid tributes

Mr Wardle, pictured here in 2014 won a gold medal at a race in Scotland on Sunday

The talented rider had represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games 

Wardle, pictured, also completed the fastest recorded crossing of the West Highland highway on a mountain bike

Mrs Archibald ended her Twitter thread with: ‘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.’

She has won two gold medal in the last two Olympics, in the Team pursuit in 2016 and in the Maddison in 2021.

The Olympian also holds 17 gold medals in European elite track championships which is an all-time record for that championships. She also holds the women’s British national record for the individual pursuit.

Her brother, John, is also an elite cyclist and they both won medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games representing Scotland. Katie won gold in the women’s individual pursuit and John silver in the men’s.

She also liked several tweets paying tribute to Mr Wardell, including one from Sir Chris Hoy, who said: ‘Can’t believe this. Utterly heartbreaking. Rest in peace Rab.’

Fellow gold medal cyclist Callum Skinner, said: ‘Sorry to hear of the passing of another great Scottish cyclist. Some of my earliest memories in the sport featured a strong, witty personality who’d help anyone.’

At the weekend Rab Wardell won the men’s title at the Scottish MTB XC Championships.

Mr Wardell, had been riding bikes from a young age but did not take up cycling or mountain biking as a sport until he was 15.

His win on Sunday was described as a ‘show of incredible resilience’ by British Cycling after Mr Wardell managed to catch the early race leaders to take the win.

During the race he recovered from three punctures to take the gold medal.

Mr Wardell had also appeared on BBC Scotland on Monday after the victory, less than 24 hours before tragically passing away. 

Last night the Scottish Cross Country Association (SXC), which runs the mountain bike race series, said it was ‘devastated’ to announce that Mr Wardell had died overnight.

A statement from SXC said: ‘We are devastated to relay to you the tragic news that our friend, our Champion Rab Wardell, has died overnight. He will be truly missed by our community and his determination, talent and friendship will live on in all our hearts and memories. RIP Rab. Our Champion, Our Inspiration, Our Friend.’

In 2020 Mr Wardell, who lived in Glasgow, set the fastest known time for mountain biking the West Highland Way, completing it in nine hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds.

He represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series. On Monday night he appeared on BBC Scotland show The Nine to talk about his championship win.

Mr Wardell said: ‘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.’

In a statement, Scottish Cycling said: ‘We are devastated to confirm that international mountain biker and former employee, Rab Wardell, has passed away today. We send our love and support to his family, friends and all those in our community who knew him’

Last night tributes poured in for the cyclist, who was described as being both ‘humble and cheerful’.

Mountain biking journalist Chipps Chippendale said: ‘So sorry to have just heard the news about Rab Wardell’s death.

‘He’d just won the Scottish Cross Country Championships on the back of an impressive comeback to racing and apparently passed away in his sleep.

‘Rab was a true all-rounder, racing XC, cross and Enduro with equal flair, all while being humble and cheerful – and very, very fast.

‘Just as he had it all to look forward to, with us along for the ride, he was taken away. A true champ has left us.’

One person said on social media: ‘Someone who has achieved so much and inspired so many.’

In a statement, Scottish Cycling said: ‘We are devastated to confirm that international mountain biker and former employee, Rab Wardell, has passed away today.

‘We send our love and support to his family, friends and all those in our community who knew him.’

A statement from British Cycling said: ‘Rab was a brilliant rider, friend and ambassador for our sport. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.’

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