Australian team pursuit Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world champion Stephen Wooldridge has passed away. The 39-year-old won the first of his four team pursuit world titles in 2002 alongside Peter Dawson, Brett Lancaster and Luke Roberts. He would go on to win rainbow jerseys in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Wooldridge's gold medal in the discipline came at the Athens Games in a squad that included Graeme Brown, Dawson, Lancaster, Brad McGee and Roberts.
Wooldridge also won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and silver in 2006 in Melbourne. After his cycling career, Wooldridge sat on the Cycling Australian board between 2007 and 2013 and was the chair of the athletes commission.
Cycling NSW confirmed Wooldridge's passing in a statement.
"Stephen was an inspirational figure in track cycling, particularly in his home state of NSW," read the statement. "Cycling NSW's thoughts are with Stephen's family and his friends during this difficult time."
Cycling Australia chief executive Nick Green also expressed his condolences on behalf of the governing body.
"Steve will be remembered by so many for not only his success in competition, but also for the contributions he made across so many roles in the sport," Green said.
Wooldridge's career in cycling started at the St George Cycling Club in New South Wales. Club president Phil Bates explained that Wooldrige's ties to the clubs remained strong even with the multitudes of his international success and was a role model for all cyclists.
“Despite all his international success he rarely missed club functions and presentations, and always made himself available for a range of roles that helped promote the sport," Bates said. "He was everyone's brother; an infectious character who always gave back to cycling, and I think of him as one as one of the great champions of St George Cycling Club."
Wooldridge was awarded an OAM in 2005 for his services to the sport and in 2015, was inducted into the NSW Sports Hall of Fame.
Cyclingnews extends our deepest condolences to all of his family, friends and fans.