Zach Bridges, who won a men’s cycling race last month, is ineligible to compete in a women’s championship cycling race.
The British cyclist began hormone therapy last year. Bridges, who now goes by the name Emily, is eligible to compete in women’s events because hormone treatments have lowered the individual’s testosterone levels to levels that comply with British Cycling rules.
Bridges came out as transgender in 2020 and has been racing in men’s events while “transitioning”. The cyclist had been slated to compete in Saturday’s British National Omnium Championship after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s governing body, ruled Bridges ineligible.
The UCI reportedly explained Bridges is registered as a male cyclist and may not compete as a woman until that registration expires.
While transgender advocacy groups expressed displeasure with the ruling because it seemed based on a technicality, British Cycling averted a possible disaster.
Women cyclists reportedly told race organizers they were considering boycotting the race if Bridges competed because of an unfair biological advantage. Since Bridges underwent puberty as a male, the biological advantages male athletes may have do not disappear after taking hormone treatments.
“You can still play sport, pal. Just not in the women’s team,” declared Twitter account @BettySea_ above an image of statement attributed to Emily Bridges.
“I am an athlete, and I just want to race competitively again, within the regulations set by British Cycling and UCI after careful consideration of the research around trangender athletes,” Bridges said in the statement. “No one should have to choose between being who they are and participating in the sport that they love.”
Bridges further claimed to be a victim of relentless harassment by media members whom she alleged wrote stories about her to boost their web traffic.
“I have provided both British Cycling and the UCI with medical evidence that I meet the eligibility criteria for transgender female cyclists, including that my testosterone limit has been far below the limit prescribed by the regulations for the last 12 months,” Bridges said. “Despite the public announcement, I still have little clarity around their finding of my ineligibility under their regulations.
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