Cycling chiefs are set to hold talks on imposing stricter rules on transgender athletes

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Cycling chiefs are set to hold talks on imposing stricter rules on transgender athletes competing in women’s events after Emily Bridges was blocked from National Omnium Championships

  • Cycling officials will look at toughening rules on competing in its competitions 
  • Trans rider Emily Bridges was blocked taking part in the National Omnium Championships this week 
  • It came despite Bridges having lowered her testosterone levels to compete 
  • UCI chief David Lappartient admits current rules are ‘probably not good enough’

Cycling chiefs will hold emergency talks with other major sports in a bid to impose stricter rules on transgender athletes competing in women’s events following the Emily Bridges controversy.

The world governing body of cycling, the UCI, blocked trans rider Bridges from racing against Laura Kenny in tomorrow’s National Omnium Championships, despite British Cycling clearing the 21-year-old to take part as she had lowered her testosterone to the required level.

Bridges’ case is now being reviewed by an expert UCI panel and it is expected she will eventually be given the green light to ride under their guidelines.

However, UCI president David Lappartient accepts that their current policy, which allow trans cyclists to enter women’s events if there testosterone levels are below five nanomoles per litre for 12 months, is ‘probably not enough’.

He admits their rules are widely opposed by elite women riders and wants to discuss updating them with other Olympics sports, including athletics and swimming, who are all members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

‘We can’t solve this alone,’ Lappartient told the BBC. ‘We have to work together. There is a question on the table and we can’t just close our eyes about what is happening.

‘This is something we have to do in the next months. This is something we must put on the agenda of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.’

Cycling chiefs are set to hold talks about toughening their rules on transgender athletes taking part in events after Emily Bridges was blocked from the National Omnium Championships. Pictured: Zach Bridges in 2018 before transitioning

Trans cyclist Bridges was denied entry into the competition despite lowering her testosterone levels

Cycling chiefs are set to hold talks about toughening their rules on transgender athletes taking part in events after Emily Bridges was blocked from the National Omnium Championships. Left: Zach Bridges in 2018 before transitioning

UCI president David Lappartient admitted their current policy was 'probably not good enough'

UCI president David Lappartient admitted their current policy was ‘probably not good enough’

World Athletics president Lord Coe warned last week that the ‘integrity and future of women’s sport is very fragile’, while swimming’s world governing body, FINA, are to vote on a new policy in June to avoid a repeat of transgender American Lia Thomas’ recent victory at the NCAA Championships.

They propose that transwomen undergo at least 36 months of testosterone reduction therapy, rather than a year, and hope to set an ‘industry standard’ for all sports.

‘I can really understand ladies who say, “We don’t accept this”,’ added UCI boss Lappartient. ‘At the moment, the union of women’s riders are completely against this and challenging the UCI on this.

‘In cycling, swimming and athletics, the question of fair competition is a question we must put on the table. Is it right to take part at the highest level when you do the transition? Or do we also have to see if this affects the fairness of competition.’

Bridges' barring denies her the opportunity to go up against Dame Laura Kenny this weekend

Bridges’ barring denies her the opportunity to go up against Dame Laura Kenny this weekend 

Bridges, who was a national junior champion as a male rider, has stayed silent on the UCI’s decision to not allow her to compete at the National Omnium Championships.

However, her aunt, Helen Bridges, said yesterday: ‘It is unfair but the others obviously think it’s unfair on them so it’s a very, very difficult situation.

‘Maybe trans athletes should have their own class but I think they should be allowed to do it (compete in women’s sports).

‘I really do feel for Emily. There’s a lot more to it given the amount of emotions she’s been through.’

ITV Wales are making a documentary about Bridges’ bid to become the first British transgender athlete to compete at elite level in women’s sport.

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