Home Cycling UCI World Cycling Championships: Katie Archibald Reflects on Glasgow & Late Partner Rab Wardell

UCI World Cycling Championships: Katie Archibald Reflects on Glasgow & Late Partner Rab Wardell

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Katie Archibald

Katie Archibald and her partner Rab Wardell were both anticipated contenders in Glasgow’s UCI World Cycling Championships.
Locations: Glasgow & various spots across Scotland Dates: 3-13 August
Broadcast: Comprehensive live coverage across BBC’s TV, online, Sport News Center app & BBC iPlayer.

For Olympic winner Katie Archibald, racing is the ultimate joy.

Once on the course, all concerns dissipate. There is no room for fear. No emotional plunge has occurred yet. It’s only her, her bicycle, and her opponents.

Her sense of freedom is expected to amplify during the World Championships in Glasgow over the coming week.

Back in her birthplace. At the Chris Hoy Velodrome, where she first stepped foot as a daring 18-year-old with pink hair and a lip ring. Where her dreams took flight.

However, dreams don’t always materialize. The previous year was brutal for the 29-year-old.

Sports injuries are inevitable. Sometimes they hit one after another. Shoulder surgery, followed by a spinal fracture. Covid, concussion, a fractured collarbone. Yet another surgery.

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Archibald was resolute about making a comeback to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. But in late May, just six weeks before the Birmingham event, she had a dramatic accident with a 4×4 vehicle.

Two ruptured ankles and a mangled leg were the noticeable aftermath. However, the psychological impact was harder to gauge.

“Every cyclist endures injuries. Constantly. My collarbones are wrecked. My hips are damaged. My knees are practically useless… but I reached a point where I was barely managing,” she confides to Hoy during a Sport News Center interview.

“I ended up in a state of constant terror, triggered by my heart rate. It made training exceedingly difficult and I started thinking, ‘if I can’t train, I can’t do this, and everything’s over’. So, I stepped back.”

Then, Archibald shifted her focus towards the world of her partner, Rab Wardell.

When Rab and Katie first met, Rab’s life was somewhat chaotic. But by the past summer, according to her, he had gotten his life in order. He was operating a coaching business, making films, and flourishing.

In August, he secured the Scottish mountain bike cross country championship.

But just two days later, Archibald woke up in their Glasgow apartment to find him lifeless next to her. He had suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while asleep. He was just 37.

“I tried desperately, and the paramedics were there within minutes, but his heart stopped and couldn’t be revived. My heart stopped with his,” she shared on Instagram the next day.

“When he passed away…” Archibald starts, holding back tears while reminiscing about Rab nearly a year later with Hoy. “I rode the bike about three days after and I noticed I wasn’t scared anymore.

“The worst had happened and my anxiety vanished. There was just a complete numbness, a pain that entirely overshadowed it.

“Now I find myself depending heavily on the sport as my sole stabilizing factor.”

Katie and Rab shared the dream of racing in Glasgow – their city, the city where they resided – together.

Her in the team pursuit, Madison and omnium events on the track. Him in the cross country marathon, even designing the course at Innerleithen.

This dream has been shattered, yet Archibald has found some small comfort in what lies immediately ahead.

It will be both physically and emotionally grueling. It will be fraught with emotion. But it will be filled with a unique significance for her that almost no other competitor will share.

“It’s therapeutic for me to share how exceptional Rab was,” she shares. “I take my career quite seriously, but Rab was all about enjoying life. He was the life of the party.

“His mantra was ‘ride bikes, enjoy the outdoors’ and ‘relax, have fun’. Our life was mostly about leisurely bike rides and enjoying coffee. Every single day. It’s not fair.

“Rab was heavily involved in these Championships and this dream of a home world championship. His passion for cycling and for Glasgow encapsulates what this entire event is about.”

Rab Wardell discussed his championship win in his last conversation with the BBC.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Katie Archibald

Who is Katie Archibald?

Katie Archibald is an Olympic champion cyclist who was set to compete in the UCI World Cycling Championships in Glasgow. She is known for her strength and determination, both in recovering from multiple injuries and dealing with personal tragedy.

What event happened to Katie Archibald in 2023?

In 2023, Katie Archibald was preparing to compete in the UCI World Cycling Championships in Glasgow when she faced a series of physical injuries and personal loss. Her partner, Rab Wardell, who was also her biggest supporter and an avid cyclist, died suddenly from a cardiac arrest.

Who was Rab Wardell?

Rab Wardell was a passionate cyclist, a mountain bike cross country champion, and the partner of Olympic cyclist Katie Archibald. He also ran a coaching business and made films. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 37 due to a cardiac arrest.

What happened to Katie Archibald after Rab Wardell’s death?

Following Rab Wardell’s death, Katie Archibald faced a profound sense of loss and grief. However, she found solace and a sense of grounding in her sport. Despite the personal tragedy, she decided to continue competing, using the championships as a way to honour Rab’s memory and their shared love for the sport.

How did Rab Wardell contribute to the UCI World Cycling Championships?

Rab Wardell contributed to the UCI World Cycling Championships by designing the course at Innerleithen for the cross country marathon. His passion for cycling and his love for the city of Glasgow are reflective of the spirit of the event.

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