Transgender women have been 'let down' by sporting bodies says British Olympic cycling champion

Katie Archibald slammed the UCI for putting Emily Bridges at the centre of the transgender athlete debate

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Olympic champion Katie Archibald has blamed cycling’s world governing body the UCI for putting Emily Bridges at the centre of the debate over transgender athletes by failing to act sooner.

The UCI prevented Bridges from competing at the British national omnium championships at the 11th hour earlier this month, having initially been deemed eligible by British Cycling.

In a statement, Archibald said she did not support transgender athletes being allowed to compete in female categories but added that the UCI had “chosen to delay action until it became sadly personal for one rider”.

Archibald said: “It is my opinion that the international governing bodies of several sports have let down transgender athletes, in particular transgender women, with their inclusion policies.

Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny
Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny
Katie Archibald presented with the trophy after victory in the Women's Elimination during round four of the 2021 UCI Track Champions League
Katie Archibald presented with the trophy after victory in the Women's Elimination during round four of the 2021 UCI Track Champions League

“These policies have put the athletes, their involvement in sport, and their personal lives under intense scrutiny when all the athletes have done is follow the rules and enter a category they were encouraged to enter. I, too, feel let down by these policies.

“I feel let down by the International Olympic Committee who tell me there should be no assumed advantage for an athlete with a gender identity different to their sex.

“I read this and hear that my world titles, my Olympic medals, and the champions jerseys I have at home, were all won in a category of people who simply don’t try as hard as the men. That losing to male androgenisation is not about biology, but mindset. They are wrong.

“The retained advantage of people who have gone through male puberty in strength, stamina, and physique, with or without testosterone suppression, has been well documented.

“Cycling’s global governing body, by its president’s own admission, knows this. But they chose to delay action until it became sadly personal for one rider. That wasn’t fair.”