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British transgender cyclist Emily Bridges‘ hopes of competing against biological female Olympic royalty over the weekend were derailed when British female cyclists threatened a boycott, and cycling officials determined Bridges hadn’t met regulations.
According to The Guardian, British cycling officials are facing a growing backlash amongst biological female riders who feel Bridges has an unfair advantage, which seems to be a fair argument considering Bridges was beating male riders during a late February competition.
Bridges was supposed to race in Saturday’s British National Omnium Championship against the likes of Dame Laura Kenny, who is considered the greatest British female Olympian ever, but the cycling governing body determined that Bridges is still registered as a male cyclist and will not be eligible to race against biological females “until her male UCI [governing body] ID expires,” The Guardian reports.
British Cycling, which saw Bridges as a potential game-changer for its cycling program, was “disappointed” with the decision to ban Bridges from Saturday’s race.
“We have been in close discussions with the UCI regarding Emily’s participation this weekend and have also engaged closely with Emily and her family regarding her transition and involvement in elite competitions,” British Cycling said in a statement. “We acknowledge the decision of the UCI with regards to Emily’s participation, however, we fully recognize her disappointment with today’s decision.”
Unlike the NCAA punting on preventing Lia Thomas from competing against biological women, Bridges might’ve found a real roadblock in the form of UCI, according to the BBC. UCI’s regulations state it must “protect health and safety” of riders and “guarantee fair and meaningful competition that displays and rewards the fundamental values and meaning of the sport.”
While Bridges was prevented from racing, the National Omnium Championship went on and biological women celebrated on the podium. How long will the British biological female cyclists have the sport to themselves? It might not be for long, but for this Saturday, the women were smiling after a fair competition without a biological male taking away a podium spot.
🎉 Congratulations @SophieLewis_02 on winning the 2022 National Women's Omnium Championships.
After an exciting day of racing, the overall women's podium:
🥇Sophie Lewis (143 pts)
🥈Neah Evans (122 pts)
🥉Maddie Leech (122 pts)
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) April 2, 2022