TRIBUTES have poured in after the death of a young cycling champion from Musselburgh at the age of 20.

Ben Forsyth was forced to give up the sport he loved in 2015 after being diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) – a progressive and incurable disease of the heart muscles.

A former Musselburgh Grammar School pupil and member of Edinburgh Road Club (RC) Cycling Club, he won the British youth circuit race championship in 2013 at Blackpool.

Ben, who passed away on July 1, was studying geography at the University of Edinburgh.

Christopher Noble, Ben’s “heartbroken” flat-mate, paid tribute to his friend on Facebook.

He posted: “I can’t believe that I’m never going to be able to go for a pint with you or come to you with my problems because you always helped me to find a solution. I only wish you were standing by my side to help me get through this pain.

“I can’t imagine what Ben’s family and parents are going through but I’m glad they know they had the most amazing son in the world, who was adored by everyone.

“My heart goes out to Hannah, Ben’s beautiful girlfriend.

“Ben: my flatmate, my library buddy and one of the best friends I’ll ever have, you changed my life and for that I’ll be forever grateful. I’ll cherish our memories forever.”

School friend Adrian Eadie also paid tribute on Facebook.

He said: “Ben was such a loving, caring person and I was proud to call him one of my friends.

“I’ve known Ben since nursery, all the way through school and even after high school.

“Ben was always a happy guy and always made sure others around him were happy. He was always there, making people smile.

“I have so many great memories with Ben as I spent most of my childhood with him, whether that would be going out on bike rides or playing football at the park to more recently going for a pint at the pub.

“My thoughts are with your family, you will be sadly missed Ben.”

A tribute on the Edinburgh RC website stated: “Edinburgh RC would like to mark the life of former club member Ben Forsyth which sadly ended on July 1.

“He was a stalwart member of the youth section until he joined the Spokes race team in 2014.

“The pinnacle of his cycling achievements was winning the British youth circuit race championship in 2013 on the promenade at Blackpool in an ERC jersey. That performance did not come out of the blue – it was the culmination of many years of learning from others and pure hard work.

“The week after his victory in Blackpool, he returned to where he started at Inch Park, resplendent in his national champion’s jersey, to meet and inspire our younger riders.

“He became a hero figure for many of our Go-Ride members, and some of the coaches too.”

The club added: “The response on social media to his loss reflects the regard in which he was held. He will be greatly missed by the cycling community in Scotland.

“We pay tribute to his many achievements in his short life and extend our condolences to his parents, Keith and Margaret, sister Emma and girlfriend Hannah.

Scottish Cycling posted on Twitter: “We are saddened to hear of the sudden death of Ben Forsyth, a former British youth champion and who at only 20 years of age had so much to live for.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Britta Barnet, mum of Ben’s former team-mate Matthias Barnet, said: “Ben was a fantastic young man – very kind and inclusive and a very good friend to our son.”

Fellow cyclist Ben Procter said via Twitter: “Devastated to hear that Ben Forsyth has passed. A champion through and through – both in terms of his cycling prowess and his demeanour.”

Dr Tom Slater of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who was the geography degree programme convenor, said: “Ben was a fantastic student – talented, hard-working, and hugely popular with his fellow students.”