Inside cyclist Melissa Hoskins and Rohan Dennis plans for ‘bright’ future

When Rohan Dennis shared a Christmas wish “from our family to yours”, alongside wife Melissa Hoskins and their two children on December 25 to social media, nobody could have predicted the tragedy that would follow just five days later.

Dennis and Ms Hoskins were a golden couple of Australian cycling. She was a dual Olympian who competed at the 2012 London (where the two met) and 2016 Rio Games, as well as a 2015 world champion before her retirement from professional cycling in 2017. He was a podium finisher at both the London and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a two-time world champion and a stage-winner in the 2015 Tour de France.

Mr Dennis retired from professional racing in 2023 – and, after years of living between Europe and Australia, the pair were looking forward to a new beginning in the Adelaide Hills with their young family.

That all changed on the night of December 30, when police allege Mr Dennis fatally struck his 32-year-old wife with his Volkswagen Amarok ute near their $2.45m home in the affluent Adelaide suburb of Menindie.

Police will allege Ms Hoskins jumped onto the bonnet of the vehicle and reached for a door handle before the car was driven away, and she fell to the ground.

It will be further alleged the mother-of-two may have been dragged along the road by the vehicle.

Ms Hoskins was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital suffering serious injuries, and died hours later.

Mr Dennis has been charged by South Australian Police with causing death by dangerous driving, driving without due care and endangering life.

The 33-year-old was released on bail to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court again in March.

Friends of Ms Hoskins, meanwhile, told The Advertiser the couple had been planning to make some major changes in their post-retirement lives, including opening their own vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.

Mr Dennis had insinuated as much on his Instagram – where he frequently shared photos of himself, Ms Hoskins, and their children.

“Slowly but surely the new project is coming to life,” Mr Dennis wrote alongside a photo of a vineyard on September 17 last year.

Asked in the comments if the intention was for his “own label” of wine, he responded: “That’s the goal.”

Another post, from January 9 2023, showed Mr Dennis and Ms Hoskins at South Australia’s Ashton Hills Vineyard, captioned: “The future is looking pretty bright.”

He again alluded to the family’s new “future” on August 24, marking his place as a finalist in the Sports Dad of the Year competition.

“Looking forward to more pictures of me with the kids without bike kit next year,” Mr Dennis wrote.

Mr Dennis and Ms Hoskins married in February 2018 on what he called “the happiest day of my life”, before welcoming their first child later that year. Their second was born in 2021.

Ms Hoskins’ death has left family, friends and the Australian cycling community reeling.

In a statement on Tuesday, released through AusCycling, her father Peter said: “Amanda, Jess and families, are utterly devastated and still struggling to process what has happened.”

“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,” the statement read.

“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.

“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.”

Ms Hoskins’ funeral will be held in her hometown of Perth, with a memorial service in Adelaide to follow.

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