UCI acknowledges concerns over its transgender rules and reopens debate
The Tour of the Gila victory of transgender cyclist Austin Killips has sparked some criticism among several of her fellow cyclists and the UCI has decided to reopen the debate on the participation of these riders in women's competitions. The top regulatory body has announced that it will make a decision in August.
UCI set to discuss role of transgender cyclists again
Much has been said about transgender people in sport. A debate that is divided between those who defend the right of athletes to compete in the category they identify with and those who believe that this gives them an advantage over their rivals. And of course there are also those who are somewhere in between. It is clear that this is a complicated issue where any decision will leave someone unhappy.
The UCI admits to having listened to the "concerns" of some riders, assumes its role and gets down to work to discuss how transgender cyclists should compete.
Less than a year ago the UCI already changed the criteria under which women could take part in women's competitions. At that time it tightened the rules and set the bar at a maximum plasma testosterone level of 2.5 nmol/L for a period of 24 months.
However, other international federations have been much more restrictive, such as athletics, swimming and rugby, which banned transgender women from participating in women's categories.
The news is now back in the news following Austin Killips' victory in the Tour of the Gila, making her the first transgender cyclist to win a UCI women's stage race. The American rider has been embroiled in a controversy sparked in part by some professional cyclists.
Thus, Inga Thompson declared that this would "kill women's cycling". Alison Sydor said that "functionally it is no different from doping".
Killips said after the win, "I am especially grateful to the entire peloton and the sport that continues to claim that Twitter is not real life. I love my teammates and competitors and am grateful for every opportunity I have to learn and grow as a person and athlete.
The UCI intends to take a decision next August at its next meeting in Glasgow. Before then, it will reopen consultation with both athletes and national federations.
The UCI expressed that "the objective remains the same: to take into consideration, in the context of the evolution of our society, the desire of transgender athletes to practice cycling". It added that "the UCI also listens to the voices of female athletes and their concerns about a level playing field for competitors, and will take into account all elements, including the evolution of scientific knowledge".