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Emily Bridges barred from competing in women’s national championship

The trans cyclist won a national title in the male category a few weeks ago. Her debut in female cycling now waits.

TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup - Day One
UCI - the international governing body of cycling - has put a pause on Emily Bridges’ participation in elite female cycling events.
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Emily Bridges, a cyclist who is transgender, has been barred from competing in the British National Omnium Championship after the UCI — the sports’ international governing body — said Bridges is still registered as a male cyclist.

Because Bridges’ latest UCI registration is as a male cyclist, she is ineligible to compete in women’s competitions. Bridges has said she started her medical transition a little over a year ago, so she meets the minimum transition requirement to compete. It’s not clear when her current registration expires.

Bridges has been competing in the male category, winning the men’s points race at the British Universities championships in Glasgow just last month.

After the public announcement, Bridges released a statement expressing her disappointment, alleged lack of transparency and the effects the media scrutiny has had on her.

“I have provided both British Cycling and UCI with medical evidence that I meet the eligibility criteria for transgender female cyclists, including that my testosterone level has been far below the limit prescribed by the Regulations for the last 12 months,” she said. “I am in contact with British Cycling and UCI requesting clarity around my alleged ineligibility, and I hope that they will reconsider their decision in line with the Regulations.”

British Cycling expressed their disappointment with UCI’s ruling, and the organization said in a statement they support further understanding of the effects of medical transition.

“We also understand that in elite sports the concept of fairness is essential,” British Cycling said in a statement. “For this reason, British Cycling is today calling for a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.”

While much international attention has been paid to swimmer Lia Thomas, Bridges has the potential to elevate the debate to a level-10. Competing in the male category before starting transition, she set a national junior record in the 25-mile. Her pending participation in female events has already caused a stir and threats of boycott by some athletes, even before she’s raced.