— Published 3 May 2023

UCI defends its position on transgender people

There is controversy in professional cycling after a transgender athlete won a women’s stage race in New Mexico on Sunday, April 30. American Austin Killips (pictured above), 27, became the first transgender cyclist to add her name to a UCI-stamped race, winning the fifth and final stage of the women’s Tour of the Gila. This was a first, made possible by the international cycling body’s rules allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s events under certain conditions. Since last year, its rules have been tightened: athletes must have a maximum plasma testosterone level of 2.5 nanomoles per liter, and go through a 24-month transition period. But the victory of Austin Killips has revived the controversy, especially in the United States. Inga Thompson, a former professional road cyclist, three times Olympian in the 80s and 90s, said on her Twitter account that the decision of the UCI was “killing women’s cycling“. She was referring to a survey conducted last year by a riders’ union (CPA), which found that more than 90 percent of professional female cyclists oppose the idea of competing against transgender athletes. In a statement released Tuesday, May 2, the body chaired by Frenchman David Lappartient defends its position: “The UCI acknowledges that transgender athletes may wish to compete in accordance with their gender identity. The UCI rules are based on the latest scientific knowledge and have been applied in a consistent manner. The UCI continues to follow the evolution of scientific findings and may change its rules in the future as scientific knowledge evolves.