British Cycling reportedly considering ban on transgender riders in elite female races

The governing body's new guidelines are due to be announced within the next month

British Cycling
(Image credit: Getty )

British Cycling is considering preventing transgender riders from competing in elite women’s races, according to a report in The Times

The governing body is set to release new guidelines surrounding the participation of transgender and non-binary athletes in the coming month. According to sources of The Times, one of the options being considered is a ban from elite women’s races. 

If this is the case, the policy would differ to the those of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which both allow transgender women to compete. UCI guidelines require transgender women to have shown reduced testosterone levels of 2.5 nanomoles per litre over a two-year period. Men typically have levels between 10 and 35 nanomoles per litre, while women’s levels tend to be around 0.5 to 2.4. 

The IOC are more relaxed with their rules, which were updated in November 2021, and do not ask transgender athletes to lower testosterone levels. 

In April last year, the British Cycling Board voted to suspend its transgender policy, a week after transgender rider Emily Bridges was stopped from competing at the National Omnium Championships by the UCI. 

In a statement at the time, British Cycling said it would launch a full policy review, which is still ongoing.

The statement continued: “While the current policy was created following an extensive external and internal consultation, the review will allow us time for further discussion with all stakeholders, including women and the transgender and non-binary communities, as we strive to provide all within our sport with the clarity and understanding they deserve.

“The challenge is far greater than one event or one sport, and only by working together can we hope to find a timely solution, which achieves fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.”

Last weekend, 27-year-old Austin Killips became the first transgender athlete to win a UCI women’s stage race at the Tour of the Gila, a 2.2 class event in the US. After the race, Killips thanked her competitors for their support after “a week of nonsense on the internet”. 

Following the Tour of the Gila, the UCI defended its guidelines in a statement, saying: “The UCI acknowledges that transgender athletes may wish to compete in accordance with their gender identity. 

“The UCI rules are based on the latest scientific knowledge and have been applied in a consistent manner. The UCI continues to follow the evolution of scientific findings and may change its rules in the future as scientific knowledge evolves.”

World Athletics and World Aquatics, the respective governing bodies for athletics and water sports, have banned transgender women from taking part in elite female competitions.

British Cycling refused to provide comment when contacted by Cycling Weekly.

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.