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Friends pay tribute to Melissa Dennis as Australian cycling community mourns

Friends pay tribute to Melissa Dennis as Australian cycling community mourns

Melissa Dennis is being remembered as a popular and talented competitor as Australian cycling reels from her death.

Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares paid tribute to Dennis on Monday morning, while AusCycling also released a statement.

The 32-year-old mother of two died in hospital after she was struck by a car on Saturday night in Adelaide’s inner north.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the 33-year-old man arrested by police and charged over Dennis’ death is her husband Rohan, an Olympic cycling medallist and former world champion who retired from competition in 2023.

He is charged with causing death by dangerous driving, driving without due care and endangering life, and was bailed to appear in court in March.

Dennis competed as Melissa Hoskins, but used her married name on Facebook.

She competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics on the track in the team pursuit and was in the squad that won the 2015 world title in the event.

That world title made Australia one of the gold medal contenders at the 2016 Rio Games, but a training crash days before qualifying cruelled their chances.

Hoskins was among the cyclists injured in the pile-up and after riding in the qualifying round, she was forced to sit out the rest of the event as Australia finished fifth.

She and Meares were members of the track cycling team at the London and Rio Games.

AusCycling chief executive, Marne Fechner, spoke of the sport’s shock and sorrow.

“Melissa described her team pursuit gold medal at the 2015 world championships as the highlight of her career, but for the rest of us, the highlight was just having her around,” Fechner said.

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“Although she retired in 2017, her presence as an alumnus of the sport has been felt and appreciated by many in the cycling and riding community.”

Hoskins also competed on the road for several years with Australian team GreenEDGE.

Rohan Dennis won two world titles in the road time trial, as well as silver in the team pursuit at the London Olympics and bronze in the road time trial at the Tokyo Olympics.

He became the seventh Australian to wear the yellow jersey as race leader at the Tour de France by winning the opening time trial in 2015, setting a race record for his average speed.

Rohan Dennis was named Australian cyclist of the year in 2015 and 2018, and won the 2015 Tour Down Under in his home city of Adelaide.

After his retirement from professional cycling, the Dennis family had relocated to Adelaide from Europe.

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