Share this @internewscast.com
Trans cyclist Emily Bridges has been barred from competing in a women’s omnium race against Dame Laura Kenny this weekend.
Emily Bridges, 21, will not compete against five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny in the National Omnium Championships in Derby on Saturday.
It came as sport’s international governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) said the controversial cyclist was ineligible.
There has been backlash against the inclusion of Miss Bridges, who was on the Great Britain Academy programme as a male rider called Zach Bridges and raced in men’s events as recently as last month.
The trans woman began hormone therapy last year and was previously declared eligible to compete as a woman under British Cycling’s policy as she lowered her testosterone to the required level.
Trans cyclist Emily Bridges has been barred from competing in a women’s omnium race against Dame Laura Kenny this weekend
Emily Bridges began hormone therapy last year and was previously declared as eligible to compete in women’s events by British Cycling
Emily Bridges, seen here riding in the Tour de Gwent in April 2018, before she began her transition. Her inclusion in women’s events has left some female cyclists ‘distressed’
British Cycling said today it recognised Bridges’ ‘disappointment’ with UCI’s decision that she couldn’t take part under current guidelines.
It said: ‘We acknowledge the decision of the UCI with regards to Emily’s participation, however we fully recognise her disappointment with today’s decision.
‘Transgender and non-binary inclusion is bigger than one race and one athlete – it is a challenge for all elite sports.
‘We believe all participants within our sport deserve more clarity and understanding around participation in elite competitions and we will continue to work with the UCI on both Emily’s case and the wider situation with regards to this issue.
‘We also understand that in elite sports the concept of fairness is essential.
‘For this reason, British Cycling is calling for a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.
‘Within recent years, we’ve seen huge advancements in the science and testing around elite sports, the broader scientific and understanding of human biology, developments in protection provided by the law, and crucially a greater respect for the psychological and societal challenges of those who are transgender and non-binary.
‘This is a complex area and by uniting, we can share resources and insights.
‘We know that some of these conversations are happening in pockets of the sporting world, but we want to encourage all sporting governing bodies, athletes, the transgender and non-binary athlete community, the Government and beyond to come together and find a better answer.
‘Across sports, far more needs to be done, collectively, before any long-term conclusions can be drawn.’
The previous decision by British Cycling to allow Miss Bridges to ride in women’s events has been heavily criticised.
Miss Bridges, pictured here in August 2018 competing as a man, had set a national junior men’s record over 25 miles in the same year
She continued to compete as a man (pictured competing in a male race in 2018) after coming out as a transgender woman, winning the points race at last month’s British Universities’ Championships, as well as bronze in the men’s team pursuit
Emily Bridges, 21, was set to compete against five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny (pictured right with husband Jason) in the National Omnium Championships in Derby on Saturday before the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) said the controversial cyclist was ineligible for the competition
Former Olympic medal-winning swimmer Sharron Davies says she has been contacted by a number of women cyclists who are afraid of the consequences of speaking out.
‘British Cycling ought to be ashamed of themselves,’ she said. ‘I have had quite a few of the girls very distressed on the phone. They are frustrated and disappointed.
‘They are all for inclusion but not at the loss of fairness and opportunities for biological females.
‘I can’t see how this isn’t sexual discrimination in the tallest order. Reducing testosterone does not mitigate male puberty advantage.
Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (pictured) has compared the advantages of being a trans woman in female sport to the advantages gained by drug cheats
Miss Bridges, who began hormone therapy last year and is now eligible to compete as a woman under British Cycling’s policy, is also still currently listed as ‘male’ on her British Cycling profile
Ms Davies, who has called for more current and former athletes to speak-up in the row (pictured: Her recent Tweet), says she has been contacted by a number of women cyclists who are afraid of the consequences of speaking out against the inclusion of former male sports stars
‘Emily retains an unfair advantage. She competed with the men’s team very successfully last year whilst reducing testosterone.
‘This is wrong and people must start calling it out or lose sport for future generations of young girls.’
A well-placed source added: ‘Everyone is afraid to say anything for fear of retribution.’
In 2018, Miss Bridges set a national junior men’s record over 25 miles.
Her time of 47min 27sec was more than two minutes faster than Hayley Simmonds’ female senior record.
She was dropped from the GB Academy shortly before she came out as a transgender woman in 2020.
But Miss Bridges continued to compete as a male, winning the points race at last month’s British Universities’ Championships, as well as bronze in the men’s team pursuit.
While not a member of Britain’s women’s track endurance squad, she could be added in time for the next Olympics if her performances merit selection, and she would be eligible under the current rules.
British Cycling updated its transgender policy in January ‘based on objective scientific research, driven by a desire to guarantee fairness and safety within the sport’.
It said that ‘testosterone levels remain the primary method of determining which members are eligible to compete in the male and female categories’.