Cycling governing body delivers big win for female athletes with ruling on trans cyclists

In a stunning reversal, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for sports cycling, announced on Friday that it is banning transgender cyclists from competing against biological women in all international women’s events.

“At an extraordinary meeting held on 5 July, the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) decided to adapt the current UCI rules on the right of female transgender athletes to take part in competitions on the UCI International Calendar,” UCI wrote in a lengthy statement. “The meeting of the UCI Management Committee was held following a seminar on the conditions for the participation of transgender athletes in women’s cycling events, organised by the UCI on 21 June, at which the various stakeholders – transgender and cisgender athletes, experts from the scientific, legal and human rights fields, and sporting institutions – were able to present their respective positions.”

“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,” UCI stated.

As BizPac Review reported in June, 27-year-old transgender cyclist Austin Killips left his closest competitor, Paige Onweller, in the dust of the grueling 137-mile-long North Carolina race, the Belgian Waffle Ride, beating Onweller by five minutes.

“Most of the day I was riding with the top three women together: me, Austin, and Flavia [Oliveira],” Onweller said following the race. “But I just couldn’t match Austin – you know, the power is not comparable.”

In May, biological male and competitive gravel cyclist Lesley Mumford, 46, stood alone at the winner’s podium after taking the top prize in the women’s age category of the 2023 Desert Gravel Co2Ut (Colorado to Utah) race.

“This is a biological man who says he’s a trans woman who’s racing,” Megyn Kelly fumed at the time. “His name was, until two minutes ago, Wesley Mumford, and he was a sheriff’s deputy. Now he says he’s Lesley Mumford and has won in the women’s 40 to 49 age group out of 14 participants and was six out of 33 for women overall.”

The move to now ban transgender cyclists comes “more than two months” after UCI defended the inclusion of the biologically-advantaged athletes in women’s sports, Fox News Digital reports.

After the new rule goes into effect on Monday, “the Men’s category will be renamed Men/Open, and any athlete who does not meet the conditions for participation in women’s events will be admitted without restriction,” UCI stated.

In light of the new scientific findings, “the UCI Management Committee considered the interests of transgender athletes in being able to take part in sporting competitions against those of athletes in the female category, which is considered a protected class,” the committee said. “In this context, the UCI Management Committee concluded, considering the remaining scientific uncertainties, that it was necessary to take this measure to protect the female class and ensure equal opportunities.”

UCI President David Lappartient stressed the UCI’s “respect” for the transgender community.

“First of all, the UCI would like to reaffirm that cycling – as a competitive sport, leisure activity or means of transport – is open to everyone, including transgender people, whom we encourage like everyone else to take part in our sport,” he said. “I would also like to reaffirm that the UCI fully respects and supports the right of individuals to choose the sex that corresponds to their gender identity, whatever sex they were assigned at birth.”

“However,” he continued, “it has a duty to guarantee, above all, equal opportunities for all competitors in cycling competitions. It is this imperative that led the UCI to conclude that, given the current state of scientific knowledge does not guarantee such equality of opportunity between transgender female athletes and cisgender female participants, it was not possible, as a precautionary measure, to authorize the former to race in the female categories.”

Melissa Fine

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