Former teammates remember Melissa Hoskins ahead of Women’s Tour Down Under race

Former teammates remember Melissa Hoskins ahead of Women’s Tour Down Under race
  • PublishedJanuary 12, 2024

A minute silence will be held before the women’s three-day race begins on Friday at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.

Hoskins, 32, died on December 30, after being hit by a car outside of her home in the Adelaide suburb of Medindie. 

Her husband, Rohan Dennis, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, driving without due care and endangering life.

He is expected to face the Adelaide Magistrates Court in March after being granted bail.

Hoskins was a world champion cyclist and two-time Olympian, who rose alongside many of the women participating in this year’s event.  

Tribute for former teammate 

It was a difficult subject to discuss at the official pre-race media conference in Adelaide, with Spratt paying tribute to Hoskins.

A woman smiles with a medal.
Melissa Hoskins was a world champion cyclist and two-time Olympian.(AAP Image: Joe Castro)

“I mean I think it’s tragic what’s happened, I was obviously teammates with Mel for a number of years,” she admitted, moments before breaking down in tears.

“I’m glad that we get the minute to honour her before the race.”

Tour Down Under assistant race director Annette Edmondson stepped in and explained how difficult the past few weeks had been. 

“It’s a really, really hard situation for everyone to be in, and I think we just want to remember Mel just for her amazing personality,” Edmondson said. 

“She was a light and she shone it across so many people.

“We’re here, and we’re here to race, and the ladies had a nice moment at the national championship where they were able to bond together last week, so we hope to do the same for our international riders.”

Hundreds of cyclists paid tribute to Hoskins with a minute of silence at the annual AusCycling Road National Championships in Ballarat last weekend. 

Former Tour stage winner Alexandra Manly said the tribute on Friday was an important moment for the team.

“Mel was a great team member and a lot of us have been team members with her, I was fortunate to be in her team on the track, so it’s empowering,” she said.

Alexandra Manly speaks to the media.
Alexandra Manly says the tribute on Friday was an important moment for the team.(ABC News: Marco Catalano)

“I hope that we can all remember her, and then give her the respect and her family the respect that they want, just honour her, but move on with the racing, that’s what they would like.”

A service will be held for Hoskins at the Fremantle Cemetery in Palmyra next Wednesday, while a memorial service will be held in Adelaide after the Tour Down Under.

Women’s race increasing profile

Tour Down Under race director Stuart O’Grady said the women’s race continued to increase its profile and quality of its field.

“[We’ve] got an absolutely fantastic line-up, got more support than we’ve ever had, the highest quality field in the women’s that we’ve every had,” Mr O’Grady said.

Stuart O'Grady speaks to the media.
Stuart O’Grady says the women’s race is increasing in profile.(ABC News: Marco Catalano)

Edmondson said becoming a world tour event last year was a big moment, and organisers had been able to pay for 10 of the 16 teams to fly to Adelaide in 2024, an increase on last year.

“We have been trying to find funds to support our ladies, so we have been on a journey for a number of years and we’ve been slowly adding more and more elements to this race,” she said.

The women’s race begins on Friday and will finish on Willunga Hill on Sunday.

The men’s race stages its Down Under Classic prelude on Saturday, before the race starts on Tuesday.


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