Female transgender riders who have transitioned after male puberty will be banned from all women’s events on the UCI International Calendar from July 17 – a decision taken by cycling’s governing body following an extraordinary meeting on July 5.
In a press statement released today, the UCI said that the men’s category for all of its events will be renamed Men/Open and that “any athlete who does not meet the conditions for participation in women’s events will be admitted without restriction.”
The UCI said the move was “necessary to take this measure to protect the female class and ensure equal opportunities.” In introducing its ban, the UCI follows other sports as well as national cycling governing bodies such as British Cycling which introduced similar rules in May.
Just last week, the North American gravel race series Belgian Waffle Ride announced that it would only allow transgender women to compete in the open category starting August 1. This followed the BRW receiving significant backlash when American rider Austin Killips won the June race in Asheville, North Carolina.
The UCI’s statement said that it had “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.”
“Given the current state of scientific knowledge, it is also impossible to rule out the possibility that biomechanical factors such as the shape and arrangement of the bones in their limbs may constitute a lasting advantage for female transgender athletes,” it said.
The statement went on to say that the ruling may change in the future and that it would be seeking discussions with other governing bodies to fund a research programme “aimed at studying changes in the physical performance of highly-trained athletes undergoing transitional hormone treatment.”
“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,” said UCI President David Lappartient.
“However, [the UCI] 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 authorise the former to race in the female categories.”