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British Cycling to ban transgender women from female category

Heart condition forces Belgian cyclist Van Hooydonck to retire aged 27
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British Cycling will ban transgender women from competing in elite female events under a new policy published on Friday that aims to prioritise “fairness”.

The governing body will split racing into “open” and “female” categories.

Transgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals and those whose sex was assigned male at birth will be eligible to compete in the “open” category.

The female category will remain for those whose sex was assigned female at birth and transgender men who are yet to begin hormone therapy.

British Cycling suspended its previous policy last year after transgender woman Emily Bridges attempted to race at the national omnium championships as a female rider.

Bridges condemned the new policy, labelling it a “violent act” and calling the governing body a “failed organisation”.

“You don’t care about making sport more diverse, you want to make yourself look better and you’re even failing at that,” she said on social media.

Cycling is still one of the whitest, straightest sports out there, and you couldn’t care less.”

The policy is the result of a nine-month review which involved a consultation process with riders and stakeholders, including members of the Great Britain team.

– Performance advantage –

That research showed a clear performance advantage for individuals who go through puberty as a male, and one that cannot be fully mitigated by testosterone suppression.

British Cycling’s previous transgender policy allowed riders to compete in the female category if they had testosterone levels below five nanomoles per litre for a 12-month period prior to competition.

“Research studies indicate that even with the suppression of testosterone, transgender women who transition post-puberty retain a performance advantage,” British Cycling said in a statement.

“Our aim in creating our policies has always been to advance and promote equality, diversity and inclusion, while at the same time prioritising fairness of competition.

“We recognise the impact the suspension of our policy has had on trans and non-binary people, and we are sorry for the uncertainty and upset that many have felt during this period.”

There is still no set date for the new regulations to be implemented, with the governing body saying only that it will be before the end of the year.

The new policy diverges from that of cycling’s world governing body, which promised to look again at its own regulations after American transgender woman Austin Killips won the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico earlier this month.

The UCI allows transgender women who have gone through male puberty to compete in elite women’s events if they have had reduced testosterone levels of 2.5 nanomoles per litre for the previous two years.

In March, World Athletics said transgender women would no longer be allowed to compete in female track and field events, following a similar ruling from swimming’s world governing body FINA.

World Rugby, in 2020, was the first international sports federation to rule that transgender male-to-females could not compete at the elite and international level of the women’s game.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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