GB Olympic Cycling chief signs letter to stop trans cyclists racing against women

GB Olympic Cycling chief Sara Symington has signed a letter supporting the ban on transgender athletes competing with women – this comes after Emily Bridges was banned from competing last weekend

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The boss of GB Olympic To go biking Sara Symington has signed a letter to stop transgender athletes from competing against women Emily Bridges was denied a chance to compete last weekend.

The former Archery GB performance director is one of 76 women who have written to the UCI, criticizing current policies towards trans athletes. The group believes that the rule that allows trans-cyclists to compete in states if their testosterone levels remain below five nanomoles per liter for 12 months should be scrapped because it’s unfair.

They wrote: “Recently in the UK, female athletes have shown they were willing to boycott their own national championships in a bid to get the UCI and British Cycling to hear their concerns about fairness in sport. This is how seriously women athletes take this issue and we deeply respect what our sisters were willing to sacrifice to make their voices heard. We are sad that this should ever have been necessary.”

It continues: “We believe that rule 13.5.015 does not guarantee female athletes ‘fair and reasonable’ competition as promised by the UCI.

“We believe the rule is discriminatory in that it only benefits biological male athletes by giving them greater opportunities to compete and enjoy the rewards of sport at the highest level. Unless the UCI can provide robust scientific evidence that the rule guarantees fairness for female athletes, we request that the UCI repeal rule 13.5.015 with immediate effect and introduce eligibility criteria for the female category based on female biological characteristics.”

In response to the letter of complaint, a British Cycling spokesman said: “We understand that this is an important issue for our staff and riders as transgender inclusion becomes more widespread. These discussions are an important part of our commitment to learn more about and understand how the sports sector can achieve fairness in a way that upholds the dignity and respect of all athletes.”

Sara Symington, head of British Olympic cycling, has signed a letter to stop transgender athletes from competing against women (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

Symington, who was a cyclist for Great Britain at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, can be seen as controversial in supporting this letter as she is critical of the very organization she not only works for, but whose own testosterone rules follow those she sets the UCI. UCI and British Cycling guidelines have come under scrutiny as cyclist Emily Bridges was due to face Dame Laura Kenny at last week’s National Omnium Championships.

The 21-year-old was cleared to compete by British Cycling after reducing her testosterone levels to the required level, but she was then blocked by the UCI, whose guidelines give her six weeks to convene an expert panel to review a case.

UCI President David Lappartient admitted in an interview last week that her current testosterone rules are “probably insufficient”, but it remains to be seen whether Bridges will be allowed to race after the six-week deadline.

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