USA Cycling has said that everyone attending the US cyclo-cross nationals will be subject to their fan code of conduct, after the prospect of fresh protests against trans athletes competing in women’s categories.
On Tuesday evening, Laura Weislo of Cyclingnews (opens in new tab) wrote that there are people posting on social media claiming dozens have signed up for a "secret" protest at the national championships.
Last year, the protestors were present at the nationals in Illinois, holding signs up at the course in opposition to the participation of transgender athletes in women's sport.
The protestors, part of a group called "Save Women's Sport", were displaying messages such as “Say no to males competing as females” and “woman = adult human female" on signs at the event.
USA Cycling faced a barrage of criticism for failing to condemn the protestors; Mountain Bike Coordinator for the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Flyyn Leonard penned an open letter (opens in new tab) to the organisation demanding action.
Cyclingnews (opens in new tab) said that they had been unable to determine the veracity of the new social media posts, and that Beth Stelzer, the founder of Save Women's Sport, refused to comment or confirm the plan, saying she had stepped down from the organisation.
Trans women are expected to be more visible at this years nationals, which happen this weekend. Austin Killips (Nice Bikes) is considered to be a contender for the title on Sunday.
In response to the reports, USA Cycling said that all spectators would have to abide by the USA Cycling fan code.
"After the protest at the 2021 Cyclocross Nationals and additional questions related to protests at USA Cycling events, our staff and legal counsel reviewed several policies related to conduct by fans, spectators, and participants from other national governing bodies and sports organizations," Chuck Hodge, the Chief of Racing and Events said. "As a result, we created and published the 'USA Cycling Fan Code of Conduct (opens in new tab)' this spring.
"We are aware of the possibility of protests at CX Nationals in Hartford and have worked with the relevant landowners and agencies to implement our policy on site, as we have at all of our National Championships since the implementation of the policy in early 2022."
Hodge continued: "There are many scenarios that affect our ability to enforce this policy including the type of property (private vs. public), how the event is permitted, and local rules and regulations. In Hartford, we will require that all attendees follow this policy or leave the event site.
"In addition to the Fan Code of Conduct referenced above, USA Cycling members are subject to our rules and policies, including our member Code of Conduct" which may lead to additional discipline.
The defending US national champion, Clara Honsinger, told Cyclingnews (opens in new tab) "it's just a really difficult situation" and "it's up to the UCI to make the proper call."
Raylyn Nuss, who finished second to Hosinger last year, and is Pan American champion, said that the issue was "the big elephant in the room".
"No one's coming to the athletes and asking us how we feel about it," Nuss said. "I almost wish we could just have a panel discussion with [the trans women] in a safe space. And we could all just ask a bunch of questions, and just clear the air more or less, and then just proceed on as normal.
"The rules are what they are. So we cannot sit and just think about what advantages she might have. We just need to prepare ourselves," Nuss said. "[Trans women] are just competitors that I want to beat every single time I go to the line, someone that's strong, and is really giving me a run for my money."
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Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.
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