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UCI Implements Ban on Female Transgender Athletes in Women’s Cycling Events

by Sophia Chen
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In a recent development, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body for world cycling, has announced a new regulation prohibiting female transgender athletes who transitioned after male puberty from participating in women’s races. The decision follows the victory of American cyclist Austin Killips, who became the first openly transgender woman to win an official cycling event earlier this year.

The UCI issued a statement clarifying their position: “Henceforth, female transgender athletes who have undergone transition after the completion of male puberty will be ineligible to compete in women’s events across all categories within the UCI International Calendar and various disciplines.”

The UCI justifies this ban, effective from Monday, as a measure to ensure equal opportunities for all participants. Austin Killips’ triumph in the fifth stage of the Tour of the Gila, a prestigious U.S. stage race, drew mixed reactions from cycling enthusiasts and former athletes. Despite adhering to the UCI’s policy that requires transgender athletes to maintain serum testosterone levels of 2.5 nanomoles per liter or below for at least 24 months prior to competing in women’s events, Killips faced criticism.

The UCI explained its decision, stating, “Based on the current state of scientific knowledge, it is uncertain whether a minimum of two years of gender-affirming hormone therapy, with a target plasma testosterone concentration of 2.5 nmol/L, is sufficient to entirely mitigate the advantages of testosterone gained during male puberty.”

The UCI also acknowledged the challenges in drawing precise conclusions regarding the effects of gender-confirming hormone therapy. They further highlighted the potential long-lasting advantages for female transgender athletes due to biomechanical factors such as bone structure and limb arrangement.

Despite the implementation of this ban, UCI President David Lappartient emphasized the organization’s commitment to inclusivity, stating, “Cycling, as a competitive sport, recreational activity, and means of transportation, remains open to everyone, including transgender individuals, whom we encourage, like all others, to participate in our sport. The UCI fully respects and supports individuals’ right to choose the gender identity that aligns with their self-identification, regardless of their assigned sex at birth. However, our foremost responsibility is to ensure equal opportunities for all competitors in cycling competitions.”

Similar restrictions have been enforced by governing bodies in track and field as well as swimming, preventing athletes who experienced male puberty from competing in international women’s events.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about transgender athletes

What is the new regulation implemented by the UCI regarding transgender athletes in women’s cycling events?

The new regulation by the UCI states that female transgender athletes who transitioned after male puberty will no longer be able to compete in women’s races. They will be prohibited from participating in women’s events on the UCI International Calendar across all categories and disciplines.

Why did the UCI decide to implement this ban?

The UCI implemented this ban to ensure equal opportunities for all participants in women’s cycling events. They believe that the advantages gained during male puberty, such as testosterone levels and biomechanical factors, may create an unfair advantage for female transgender athletes.

How did the victory of Austin Killips influence this decision?

Austin Killips, the first openly transgender woman to win an official cycling event, sparked discussions and negative reactions within the cycling community. Despite adhering to the UCI’s previous policy regarding testosterone levels, her victory raised concerns about the fairness of competition, prompting the UCI to reevaluate their regulations.

Are there any other sports governing bodies with similar restrictions?

Yes, other governing bodies in sports such as track and field and swimming have also barred athletes who underwent male puberty from competing in international women’s events. This approach aims to address the potential advantages gained during male development.

More about transgender athletes

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