Transgender cyclist blocked from women’s championship after boycott threats

Transgender cyclist blocked from women’s championship after boycott threats

A transgender cyclist who identifies as female has been stopped from competing in a women’s championship race taking place this weekend because female competitors have threatened boycott.

Emily Bridges, formerly known as Zach Bridges, was removed from the women’s British National Omnium Championship on Saturday.

This championship race would have been Bridges’ first race in the women’s division of competition, and Bridges just began hormone therapy last year. The athlete was determined “ineligible” to compete by the cycling’s overseeing body, the UCI, after biologically female athletes in the race threatened to boycott it.

“Bridges – who set a national junior men’s record over 25 miles in 2018 – had been due to compete against several British Olympians, including Dame Laura Kenny, in her first race in the women’s category,” The Guardian reported.

“However the UCI ruled the 21-year-old, who began hormone therapy last year to reduce her testosterone levels, was currently not compliant with its regulations as she is still registered as a male cyclist – and therefore cannot compete as a woman until her male UCI ID expires.”

The Guardian added that the UCI’s decision was released “amid a growing backlash from within the sport, with the Guardian understanding that a number of female riders were talking about boycotting the event in Derby because they felt that Bridges, who was on the Great Britain Academy programme as a male rider until being dropped in 2020, had an unfair advantage.”

The UCI is allowed to prevent Bridges from competing against women even if the athlete fulfills “eligibility criteria” as part of an effort to “protect health and safety” and “guarantee fair and meaningful competition that displays and rewards the fundamental values and meaning of the sport.”

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