Trans cyclist to face off against Olympic winner after being granted permission to compete against women

Emily Bridges is due to race against five-time Olympic gold medallist Dame Laura Kenny

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A trans athlete is set to race against some of Team GB's top cyclists in Derby this week, having been cleared to compete in female events.

Thomas after the 100 free at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships at Georgia Tech
Thomas after the 100 free at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships at Georgia Tech

Emily Bridges, 21, will compete against the likes of five-time Olympic gold medallist Dame Laura Kenny at the National Omnium Championships on Saturday.

Bridges, who used to go by Zach rather than Emily, was the national junior cycling champion over 25 miles and was picked for the elite British Cycling senior academy in 2019. The academy is the pathway was future Olympians.

Bridges' 25-mile junior record is two minutes quicker than the senior female record, set by Hayley Simmonds.

Bridges now has low enough testosterone levels, by British Cycling's standards, to qualify to compete in female races.

However, as recently as last month, Bridges won the men's points race in Glasgow at the British Universities' championships.

Great Britain's Katie Archibald (left) and Laura Kenny celebrate with their gold medals. Emily is due to race the Olympian, Kenny, on Saturday.
Great Britain's Katie Archibald (left) and Laura Kenny celebrate with their gold medals. Emily is due to race the Olympian, Kenny, on Saturday.

In a Cycling Weekly interview she said: “After starting hormone therapy, I didn’t want to race in the male category any more than I had to. It sucks, racing as a man when you’re not one. It was quickly apparent that that was the wrong category for me.”

However, last year the Sports Council’s Equality Group said that: “testosterone suppression is unlikely to guarantee fairness between transgender women and natal females in gender-affected sports”.

British Cycling have said: “We believe that the updated policy reflects the current evidence available to us, however we acknowledge that more research into this area is required.”