Female Transgender Cyclists Are Out of UCI Women's Races

Swimming, track and field have enacted similar policies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 14, 2023 4:05 PM CDT
World Group Imposes Restrictions on Trans Cyclists
Mellow Johnny's teammates Levi Leipheimer, left; Lance Armstrong, center, and Jason McCartney race during the fifth stage of the Tour of the Gila cycling race in New Mexico in May 2010.   (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)

Female transgender athletes who transitioned after male puberty will no longer be able to compete in women's races, world cycling governing body the UCI said Friday. The International Cycling Union joined the governing bodies in track and field and swimming as top-tier Olympic sports addressing the issue of transgender athletes and fairness in women's events in this way, the AP reports. The UCI's decision came after American rider Austin Killips became the first openly transgender woman to win an official cycling event this year.

"From now on, female transgender athletes who have transitioned after (male) puberty will be prohibited from participating in women's events on the UCI International Calendar—in all categories—in the various disciplines," the international federation said in a statement. The UCI said the ban, starting on Monday, was necessary to "ensure equal opportunities." Killips rode to victory in the fifth stage of the Tour of the Gila, one of the marquee US stage races. Her victory provoked a negative reaction by some cycling fans and former racers despite the 27-year-old athlete having adhered to a policy put in place by the UCI last year requiring transgender athletes to have serum testosterone levels of 2.5 nanomoles per liter or less for at least 24 months before competing in women's events.

The UCI said Friday it "has taken note of the state of scientific knowledge, which does not confirm that at least two years of gender-affirming hormone therapy with a target plasma testosterone concentration of 2.5 nmol/L is sufficient to completely eliminate the benefits of testosterone during puberty in men." It also noted the difficulty in being certain about the effects of gender-confirming hormone therapy. The ICI's French President David Lappartient said that, despite the ban, the group was reaffirming that cycling "is open to everyone, including transgender people." (British Cycling adopted a similar policy in May.)

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