The UCI president wants a coalition of sports federations to decide on stricter legislation.
The president of cycling’s world governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), has held urgent talks with other leading sports federations to discuss creating tougher rules for the participation of transgender women in women’s sports.
David Lappartien wants to see the changes made “after a few months” and acknowledged this week that the current legislation, which allows trans women to compete if their testosterone levels have been reduced below 5 nanomoles per liter over a 12-month period, “probably not enough” to ensure fair competition.
Lappartien commented on his organization’s decision that trans cyclist Emily Bridges cannot compete in the UK National Omnium Championship this weekend as she is still registered as a male rider.
“Now this is a very delicate topic,” Lappartient told the Guardian.
“The question is, do you have a memory of who you used to be in your body? Do you have an advantage in this? Do we have a violation of fair competition? » he posed.
“When you ask this question, you are not questioning the fact that people want to transition. We fully respect that.” Lappartien remarked.
“But I can also understand from the ladies [who] say, “OK, we don’t accept that.” At the moment, the women riders union is strongly opposed and is challenging the UCI. So we’re in between.
British Cycling confirms that transgender cyclist Emily Bridges is now ineligible to compete in the national omnium championship.
– Says it’s “technical” because Bridges has to wait until her current UCI registration ends to compete as a woman.
“But there was talk of a boycott by the British riders. pic.twitter.com/URSXWWLQYr
— Sean Ingle (@seaningle) March 30, 2022
Lappartient noted that currently cycling “big deal in Britain” in Bridges, which The Guardian also reports will not be selected for the UCI Track Nations Cup from 21 April.
This week, when British Cycling announced that Bridges would not compete in the National Omnium Championship, which was confirmed by the UCI, the same paper said it understood some female competitors were threatening to boycott the Derby event on Saturday if Bridges was compete as they see fit. had an unfair advantage.
Although Lappartien did not confirm this, he told BBC Sport that many female cyclists have expressed concerns to the UCI about the fairness of the competition and ” not to accept “ current controls.
In its announcement that Bridges would not be able to compete, British Cycling said it was calling for a coalition. “To share, learn and better understand how we can achieve justice in a way that preserves the dignity and respect of all athletes. »
Shortly before the revelation, Lappartien spoke to BBC Sport and admitted that “worry” about the equity impact of trans women’s participation in sports and reiterated her line on testosterone level rules. ” Maybe “ not enough to guarantee it.
Lappartien says he spoke with ” medicine teachers » as well as “several experts” on the subject, but now he showed that he spent ” discussions this week with Olympian associations » as well as “with some international federations”.
“In cycling, in swimming, in athletics, the issue of fair competition is really worth discussing. Is it the right to participate when moving to the highest level or should we see if this affects the integrity of the competition? The participant thinks.
“Obviously this is something we need to put on the agenda of the Association of International Federations of the Summer Olympic Games, because we cannot solve this problem alone, we need to work together,” he said, he adds. Lappartien also turned to the BBC.
“We cannot just turn a blind eye to what is happening and that is what we need to do in the coming months. »
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is currently empowering individual sports organizations to create their own rules for transgender participation, which is probably why the UCI wants the coalition to form a more universal position.
As trans-American college swimmer Leah Thomas broke a number of records in the women’s competition in Pennsylvania, global swimming governing body FINA has proposed new rules that require trans women to lower their testosterone levels for 36 months before racing in the women’s category.
This will place the burden on the athletes to prove that they are not receiving any benefit, and World Triathlon is also working on updates to its rules that will be made public in April.
“We have a working group on this issue that includes members of the Medical Committee, the Department of Athletics, the Women’s Committee and the Executive Board to update our rules in 2022 to ensure fair competition between transgender people and cisgender people.” Sergio Migliorini, chairman of the World Triathlon Medical Committee, told The Guardian.
“We hope that the structure of the International Olympic Committee will be improved, including taking into account the medical / scientific aspect of this issue and in cooperation with the IF / IOC medical committee and scientific experts in this field,” he concluded.