Home > Biking

International Governing Body of Cycling Bans Transgender Athletes in Female Events

Today, the international governing body of competitive cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), banned transgender athletes in female events.

Women's team in the first Tour de France FemmesTeam SD Worx in the 2022 Tour de France Femmes; (photo/Dario Belingheri, Getty Images)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

According to a release posted on the UCI website, “From now on, female transgender athletes who have transitioned after (male) puberty will be prohibited from participating in women’s events on the UCI International Calendar — in all categories — in the various disciplines.”

For international Masters events, the Men’s category will become the Men/Open category. Any cyclist that doesn’t meet the qualifications for the Women’s category may race in the Men’s category without restriction.

The press release reveals at least some of the scientific findings that moored the UCIs decision:

“The UCI Management Committee has taken note of the state of scientific knowledge, which does not confirm that at least two years of gender-affirming hormone therapy with a target plasma testosterone concentration of 2.5 nmol/L is sufficient to completely eliminate the benefits of testosterone during puberty in men. In addition, there is considerable inter-individual variability in response to gender-confirming hormone therapy, which makes it even more difficult to draw precise conclusions about the effects of such treatment. Given the current state of scientific knowledge, it is also impossible to rule out the possibility that biomechanical factors such as the shape and arrangement of the bones in their limbs may constitute a lasting advantage for female transgender athletes.”

The UCI press release also states that the wishes of transgender athletes to participate in the female category were a concern in its decision: “In this context, the UCI Management Committee concluded, considering the remaining scientific uncertainties, that it was necessary to take this measure to protect the female class and ensure equal opportunities.”

This ban will start on July 17, 2023. The UCI added that this may change with expanding scientific knowledge and that it will start discussions with other “members of the international sporting movement” to help finance further research on elite athletes undergoing transitional hormone treatment.

The press release closes with this statement from David Lappartient, UCI President:

“First of all, the UCI would like to reaffirm that cycling — as a competitive sport, leisure activity or means of transport — is open to everyone, including transgender people, whom we encourage like everyone else to take part in our sport. I would also like to reaffirm that the UCI fully respects and supports the right of individuals to choose the sex that corresponds to their gender identity, whatever sex they were assigned at birth.

“However, it has a duty to guarantee, above all, equal opportunities for all competitors in cycling competitions. It is this imperative that led the UCI to conclude that, given the current state of scientific knowledge does not guarantee such equality of opportunity between transgender female athletes and cisgender female participants, it was not possible, as a precautionary measure, to authorise the former to race in the female categories.”

Team Jumbo-Visma at the 2022 Tour de France

2023 Tour de France Teams: How They Got There

Earning a spot as a 2023 Tour de France Team isn't easy. This is how it works. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.