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Donna Rae-Szalinski

Donna Rae-Szalinski

Inducted 2024

Many people’s contribution to cycling goes way beyond the results page.

They’re the people who knock down barriers and forge the pathways for the next generations.

Donna Rae-Szalinski is one of those people.

On the bike she was a world-class athlete.

She was a member of the first Australian women’s team to compete in the Tour de France in 1986, and on her way to finishing 27th in the 1988 Tour, played a key support role in helping Liz Hepple create Australian cycling history, when she finished third overall.

Donna represented Australian at multiple world championships, finishing 25th in the road race in 1991.

The national road race championships were also a major target for Donna, her best result coming in 1990, when she won the bronze medal.

But it’s off the bike where Donna has had her biggest impact in cycling, as a coach, a mentor, and to many, a second mum, so much so that she’s often referred to as Mama Bear by Australia’s elite road riders.

From guiding Jessica Allen to a one-second win in the junior time trial at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships to being the sports director for some of the best, including Italian dual world champion Giorgia Bronzini during her time with the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team, and being the voice from the car when Amanda Spratt won silver and bronze medals in the road races at the 2018 and 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

Donna is revered by the international cycling community.

For more than two decades she’s been one of Australia’s leading coaches, first as an independent coach, then with the Victorian Institute of Sport and now as the Director of Pathways with AusCycling.

In 2021, Donna was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to cycling. To generations of riders, she’s simply been the rock they can always rely on.

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