Cycling could not remain apart from the debate that has been shaking the world of sport in recent months, the debate on the participation of transgender women in women’s competitions and the impact that this may have on the development of competitions.
In view of the situation, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has decided to form a round table in which to listen to all parties, analyze the situation and adapt the regulations accordingly.
In an exclusive interview with the CyclingNews portal, UCI President David Lappartient spoke about one of the hot topics in sport today, that of the participation of transgender women in women’s competitions. “Can we guarantee a fair competition? To this day I can’t say ‘no’, but I can’t say ‘yes’ either,” he laconically stated.
To face the problem with all the guarantees, the highest cycling body has chosen to convene a round table to “review the situation, our current position and make decisions based on what we know. We want an open debate with the participation of all parties.”
This decision is made after the female athletes raised their concerns about a competition on equal terms. Current UCI rules state that transgender cyclists must state their female gender identity and show that their testosterone level has been below 2.5 nmol/L for the 24 months prior to competing in the female category and, therefore, Of course, it has to be kept below those limits while they are active.
However, there are not a few voices that affirm that those cyclists who have passed puberty as men have developmental advantages that could distort the competition. “When we make a decision, it must be based on scientific knowledge and to date we have no evidence that there is an advantage or that there is not,” said Lappartient in this regard.
As a reference, the international Athletics and Swimming federations have already expressed themselves in this regard and have prohibited the participation of transgender athletes in the female category if they have already passed puberty as men. For its part, British Cycling, which had initially prohibited the participation of trans women, has created a new category called Open in which they will be able to participate, just like the participants in the male category.
David Lappartient pointed out that the round table to define the new framework for the participation of transgender women will be made up of between 10 and 15 representatives of the interested parties: 4 transgender women, four women who currently compete in road and track, in addition to the president of the athletes commission Katerina Nash, the medical director of the UCI Xavier Bigard together with other experts in human rights and scientists.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions until I discuss with the stakeholders. One solution could be to not allow transgender cyclists to participate in international competitions. Another might be to modify the transition period or testosterone limits, or simply to maintain the current norms. Any modification has to be based on scientific knowledge”
In any case, the current situation has generated significant controversy and puts the UCI in a complicated situation, where it tries to remain politically neutral, referring to the fact that, despite the resolutions they may take, they have no choice but to abide by the laws. of the different countries and the regulations of the national federations in their tests.