Former world champion cyclist Rohan Dennis has been charged in connection with the death of his wife, Olympic cyclist Melissa Hoskins, Australian media said Monday. Hoskins, a mother of two, died after being struck by a vehicle while riding in Adelaide.
Dennis was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, endangering life and driving without due care, local media said. The reports said he had been released on bail to appear at the Adelaide Magistrates Court in March.
Hoskins, 32, competed for Australia at the London and Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Police said emergency services were called to an address in Medindie, an Adelaide suburb, around 8pm Saturday, following reports a woman had been struck by a vehicle.
Police said the woman, later identified as Hoskins, suffered serious injuries and died after being taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“The driver is known to the woman,” police said, without confirming his name.
The international association of women cyclists said it was “shocked” to learn of Hoskins’ death.
“We send our thoughts to those who love her, starting with her children, and were lucky enough to ride with her during an all too short life,” CPA Women said on social media.
Hoskins 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.
“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,” AusCycling chief executive Marne Fechner said in a statement Monday.
“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,” Fechner added.
Hoskins also competed in road cycling for several years with Australian team GreenEDGE.
Dennis, 33, 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.
Dennis, who has retired from competitive cycling, 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 and their marriage in 2018, the Dennis family relocated to Adelaide from Europe.
Hoskins and Dennis were this month scheduled to take part in an event at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
“We are devastated by the news of Melissa Hoskins death. It’s an extremely tragic situation which has seen the loss of a young mum and champion cyclist,” Tour Down Under organisers said in a statement Monday. “Given the circumstances, Rohan Dennis will no longer be participating.”
Hoskins’ death comes just days before former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius is due to be released on parole after spending a decade in jail for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)