Hundreds of cyclists have paid tribute to Olympic cycling champion Melissa Hoskins at an annual road racing competition in Ballarat in Central Victoria at the weekend.

Key points:

  • Competitors at the AusCycling Road National Championships have honoured Olympian Melissa Hoskins in a touching tribute in Ballarat
  • Hoskins died before the New Year after an incident involving a ute
  • Her husband has since been charged with dangerous driving and endangering life offences

Hoskins, 32, died on December 30 after being hit by a ute outside her Adelaide home.

Her husband Rohan Dennis has been charged following the incident, and is expected to face the Magistrates Court in March after being granted bail last week.

Hoskins — who represented Australia at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and won gold in the women’s team pursuit at the 2015 World Championships — often attended the annual AusCycling Road National Championships, and cyclists have remembered her during a minute silence.

A woman looks off camera with a broad smile, surrounded by cameras and microphones.

Track cyclist Melissa Hoskins talks to the media in Rockhampton in 2016.(ABC Capricornia: Blythe Moore)

Australian cyclist and national road race title winner David McKenzie said the competition was feeling the loss of the beloved community member.

“We’ve all really been feeling it … I think the important thing is to wrap our arms around her closest friends, her family and her young, beautiful children,” McKenzie said.

A man smiles at the camera

Australian cyclist and national road race title winner David McKenzie in Ballarat.(ABC Ballarat: Laura Mayers)

“In time, and even now, we’re celebrating her short life and what she achieved,” he said.

“She was an amazing athlete, both on the track, and on the road, she was a world champion and a world record breaker.”

McKenzie said January is a “huge” month for cycling across the country.

“It’s tough, but we have to move forward,” he said.

“The world tour starts here, and it will continue for the month, we will continue to talk about her and to celebrate her.”

A group of cyclists in a road race, crowds watch on from the sidelines.

The annual AusCycling Road National Championships gets under way in Ballarat.(ABC: Hugh Martin)

Melissa Hoskins’ parents said in a tribute that their daughter had a “freewheeling spirit” and had a “big heart”.

AusCycling CEO Marne Fechner said Hoskins was a champion who “thrilled and inspired us”.

“Melissa began her competitive cycling career at just 16, and by the time she retired at the age of 25 she had shown the world that she was an athlete of rare prowess,” Ms Fechner said.

“Melissa described her team pursuit gold medal at the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships as the highlight of her career, but for the rest of us, the highlight was just having her around.”

Marne Fechner

AusCycling CEO Marne Fechne paid tribute to the beloved athlete ahead of the Road Cycling Nationals.(Supplied: Netball Australia)

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Posted Yesterday at 1:47amSun 7 Jan 2024 at 1:47am, updated Yesterday at 2:11amSun 7 Jan 2024 at 2:11am


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