Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges will not compete at Saturday’s National Omnium Championships in her first women’s event after a ruling by cycling’s world governing body.
The 21-year-old looked set to face some of the sport’s biggest names, including five-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny.
However, British Cycling said in a statement on Wednesday: “We have now been informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) that under their current guidelines Emily is not eligible to participate in this event.”
Bridges began hormone therapy last year as part of her gender dysphoria treatment and has now become eligible to compete in women’s events because of lowered levels of testosterone.
British Cycling’s transgender regulations, which were updated in January this year, require riders to have had testosterone levels below five nanomoles per litre for a 12-month period prior to competition.
“We have been in close discussions with the UCI regarding Emily’s participation this weekend and have also engaged closely with Emily and her family regarding her transition and involvement in elite competitions,” said British Cycling.
“We acknowledge the decision of the UCI with regards to Emily’s participation, however we fully recognise her disappointment with today’s decision.
“Transgender and non-binary inclusion is bigger than one race and one athlete – it is a challenge for all elite sports.”
Earlier this month, US college transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle and finished fifth and eighth in other races at the NCAA Championships.
Thomas was backed by an open letter from 300 swimmers, including rival Erica Sullivan – but her inclusion also faced opposition from another competitor, Hungary’s Reka Gyorgy, as well as Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
Asked about the issue, World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe claimed the “integrity” of women’s sport was at stake and its future was “fragile”.
Coe also called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to introduce regulations that can be applied across every sport and insisted “gender cannot trump biology”.
British Cycling has also called for a coalition across a number of sports – involving governing bodies, athletes, the transgender and non-binary athlete community and the government – to work together to “find a better answer”.
“We also understand that, in elite sports, the concept of fairness is essential,” it said.
“For this reason, British Cycling is today calling for a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.”
More to follow
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