Tour Down Under; Emotional riders speak about Melissa Hoskins’ death

It will be an emotional morning to start the women’s Tour Down Under in Adelaide with a minute’s silence being held to honour the tragic death of Olympic cyclist Melissa Hoskins.

Riders including former teammates on both the road and the track, Amanda Spratt and Alex Manly, became emotional on Thursday talking about Hoskins but vowed to race on in her honour.

Spratt was visibly distressed speaking about Hoskins on Thursday at the Tour Down Under pre-race media conference and said she was “glad we get the minute to honour her”

Race director Annette Edmondson stepped in as Spratt became emotional and said Hoskins was “a light” and all riders wanted to remember her as a significant part of the Australian cycling community.

“We just want to remember Mel for her amazing personality. She was a light and she shone it across so many people,” Edmondson, who also rode with Hoskins, said.

“It’s extremely tragic … there are a lot of people here who knew her.

“She lived here, she trained here. It’s a really, really sad few weeks for us as a cycling community.

“We are going to spend that minute remembering her and we’re here for a race. We have a lot of professional women out here who are here to do a job.”

Hoskins, a mother-of-two and two-time Olympian and world champion on the track, died in hospital, hours after a traffic incident on December 30 at her Adelaide home.

Her husband Rohan Dennis, an Olympic medallist and former road champion, faces driving-related charges over her death.

Manly, who raced with Hoskins on the track, said Hoskins would have wanted them to race on.

“She’s very empowering and hopefully we can all remember her and then give her respect, and her family the respect they want,” Manly said.

“Just honour her, but then move on to the racing — that’s what they would like.”

The first stage of the Tour Down Under will start in Hahndorf at 11am.

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