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Melissa Hoskins’ family pay tribute to her ‘freewheeling spirit’ after Olympic cyclist’s death in ‘tragic circumstances’

The family of Olympic track cyclist and former world champion Melissa Hoskins has paid tribute to her “freewheeling spirit” and “big heart” following the 32 year-old’s death after she was hit by a car on Saturday.

Australia’s national broadcaster ABC and other local media outlets reported that Hoskins’ husband Rohan Dennis, a two-time world time trial champion and a stage winner at the Tour de France, had been arrested and charged with causing her death by dangerous driving.

“Words cannot convey our grief, sadness and the tragic circumstances of Melissa’s passing,” said the statement from her parents and sister which was released on Tuesday by Australia Cycling, the sport’s national federation.

“Not only have we lost a daughter and sister, her children have lost their mum, a freewheeling spirit, a giver with a big heart, patience and zest for life.

“She was the rock of their life and ours and we need to honour her memory so they can grow up knowing who she was, what she stood for and what she gave to everyone whose life she touched.”

Following tributes from across the cycling world, Hoskins’ family added that the “outpouring of sadness and support has overwhelmed us.”

“In her short life Melissa has had so many positive touch points in and around the world,” they said.

Hoskins was a successful track cyclist, becoming a world champion and setting a world record in 2015 as part of Australia’s women’s team pursuit quartet.

She competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in the same event, missing out on a medal by just 0.181 seconds at the 2012 London Games, before retiring in May 2017.

Melissa Hoskins was part of Australia's women's team pursuit quartet for two Olympics. - Joe Giddens/PA Wire/AP
Melissa Hoskins was part of Australia's women's team pursuit quartet for two Olympics. - Joe Giddens/PA Wire/AP

Funeral in Perth

South Australian Police has appealed for anyone with information about Hoskins’ death to contact them.

An earlier police statement on Sunday said that a 32-year-old woman had died after being a hit by a car driven by a man “known to the woman,” in Adelaide, Australia.
Local media named the woman as Hoskins and the man as Dennis.

The woman suffered serious injuries and died in hospital, the police statement added.

It did not name the 33-year-old man who had been arrested, charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and granted bail before a court appearance on March 13.

A police spokesperson told Reuters that its policy is to not confirm the names of those accused involved in an incident.

Hoskins’ family said that a funeral will be held in her hometown of Perth and a memorial service will take place in Adelaide after the Tour Down Under, a cycling race held in Australia.

They asked for privacy to deal with their grief and added they would be making no further comment.

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