Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has been declared ineligible to race in the women’s event at the British National Omnium Championships this weekend. Bridges was due to compete in Derby on Saturday in a field including five-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny. The 21-year-old had been allowed to enter under British Cycling’s transgender and non-binary participation policy. But the organisation has now said it has been informed by the sport’s governing body, the UCI, that Bridges is not eligible.
The Guardian reported that Bridges has been told she has to wait until current UCI registration as a male rider expires before she can re-register and compete as a woman.
“Under the British Cycling transgender and non-binary participation policy, Emily Bridges was due to participate in the British National Omnium Championships,” British Cycling said in a statement.
“We have now been informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale that, under their current guidelines, Emily is not eligible to participate in this event.”
Bridges, who won the men’s points race at the British universities and colleges championships in Glasgow in February, began hormone therapy last year.
British Cycling’s regulations, updated in January this year, require riders to demonstrate low testosterone levels for a 12-month period prior to competition.
The initial decision to allow Bridges to race caused major controversy, with threats of a boycott from other female riders if she was allowed to compete.
Critics say trans athletes have an unfair advantage even when testosterone levels have been lowered due to the impact of male puberty on the body.
“It would not have been fair to ask Laura Kenny and the other women cyclists that Bridges would have come up against to have to race a rival with the advantages of a biological man,” said former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.
“No amount of testosterone reduction can mitigate that, but we’re being told to turn a blind eye to science and biology, to keep quiet and suck it up.”
RBA/AFP Photo: Bettini