The cycling world has paid its last respects to Scottish mountain bike champion Rab Wardell, who died of cardiac arrest as fellow Olympian Katie Archibald fought desperately to save his life.
Mr Wardell, 37, suffered cardiac arrest while lying next to the Team GB star at their Glasgow home last month.
His death was confirmed on August 23 – just two days after winning the Scottish Cross Country Championship at Kirroughtree Forest near Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire. He had also appeared on BBC Scotland’s The Nine on the night of his death to talk about his victory.
Mourners gathered for a funeral at Dunfermline Crematorium this afternoon, where a large group of cyclists gathered to follow the procession to the service.
Friends were seen consoling outside the crematorium, with cyclists dressed in lycra interspersed with men and women dressed in black clothing.
Tributes to the cycling champion were also written on cards placed among the flowers outside today’s funeral.
At the time of his tragic death, Ms Archibald, who won gold medals at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, shared with emotion how she ‘tried and tried’ to save him and that her heart ‘went stopped” with his.
Olympian Katie Archibald, 28, desperately tried to save partner Rab Wardell, 37, who died of cardiac arrest (pictured together)
Rab Wardell’s funeral procession arriving at Dunfermline Crematorium, with a large group of cyclists following the procession
Rab Wardell’s coffin arriving at Dunfermline Crematorium today covered in flowers and two cards paying poignant tributes
A person holds a service order outside Dunfermline Crematorium ahead of Mr Wardell’s funeral this afternoon
Mourners gather outside Dunfermline Crematorium as the motorcade carrying the flower-covered coffin arrives ahead of the funeral service
Friends were seen consoling outside the crematorium, with cyclists dressed in lycra interspersed with men and women dressed in black clothing
Large numbers of people gathered at the crematorium today to pay their respects to the Scottish cycling champion, who won a major tournament just two days before his death.
Lycra-clad cyclists, pictured with their bikes resting on the grass outside the service, followed the procession as the cycling world paid tribute to Mr Wardell today
Olympian Katie Archibald (right) said she desperately tried to save partner Rab Wardell (left) as he suffered fatal cardiac arrest in bed next to her
Cyclists and mourners lined the road outside Dunfermline Crematorium as Mr Wardell’s funeral took place this afternoon
Flowers and messages left by Mr Wardell’s family among the flowers above his coffin today, where the cycling world gathered to pay their respects
Mourners were seen hugging and consoling as they attended the funeral of Mr Wardell, who died of cardiac arrest last month.
She tweeted: “I think you heard Rab passed away yesterday morning.
“I still don’t understand what happened; if it is real; why he would 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 get him back.
‘Mine stopped with that. I love him so much and need him here with me. I need him here so badly, but he’s gone. I cannot describe this pain.
Ms Archibald added: “Thank you to those paying tribute. I can’t stand talking about him in the past tense to say anything myself. You are everything to me, Rab. I love you.’
His comments came after Scottish Cycling said it was “devastated to confirm the news of the death of international mountain biker and former employee, Rab Wardell”.
The sports body added: “We have very little information at this stage, but we send our love and support to his family, friends and everyone in our community who knew him.”
“We ask that you respect the privacy of Rab’s family at this incredibly sad time.”
Ms. Archibald holds 17 gold medals in elite European track championships, an all-time record for the competition. She also holds the British women’s national record for the individual pursuit.
Scottish mountain bike champion Rab Wardell, pictured, died aged 37, just two days after winning a race at Kirroughtree Forest near Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire
The Scottish cycling champion died after suffering cardiac arrest while lying in bed with his partner, Olympic cyclist Katie Archibald.
Rab Wardell’s funeral procession arriving at Dunfermline Crematorium ahead of the funeral this afternoon
His 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.
Fellow gold medalist cyclist Callum Skinner said: “Sorry to hear of the passing of another great Scottish cyclist.” Some of my earliest memories in sports featured a strong, spirited personality that would help anyone.
In 2020, Mr Wardell, who lived in Glasgow, set the fastest known time for mountain biking on the West Highland Way, completing it in nine hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds.
He represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series.
His win at Kirroughtree Forest two days before his death was described as a ‘show of incredible resilience’ by British Cycling after Mr Wardell managed to nab the early race leaders to claim victory.
During the race he recovered from three punctures to win the gold medal.
Cycling world pays final tribute to mountain biker Rab Wardell, 37, who died of cardiac arrest