Daily Express

Trans cyclists beat women riders in new ‘inclusive’ race

- By Chris Riches

A NEW inclusive cycling race has been criticised after two transwomen athletes trounced all the non-trans female riders to come first and second.

The ThunderCri­t Lightning contest at Herne Hill velodrome in south-east London was open to biological females, known as CISwomen, but also competitor­s “of similar ability to race in that category, regardless of gender”.

The organisers stressed in their rules for trans riders: “We will not require any proof of medical treatment, we trust competitor­s to select the category most appropriat­e for their performanc­e.”

But critics of allowing “preferred-gender” trans-women to compete in women’s sports said Friday’s race proved their point – as the gold and silver podium winners were both male-born.

The gold medal went to Emily Bridges, 21, a trans cyclist who was barred from a woman’s race in March, having only competed in men’s events the month before.

In second place was Lilly Chant, of Southampto­n, who – despite identifyin­g as a woman – is actually still designated as male on official records such as the British Cycling website.

The tournament’s best-performing CIS-woman, Jo Smith, of Thanet, Kent, won bronze and celebrated with her rivals by posing on the winners’ podium with her young daughter.

A photograph of the winners’ podium spread on social media, sparking fury from several female

athletes and campaigner­s. Sharron Davies – beaten to a gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics by a steroid-enhanced East German swimmer – said she was “very disappoint­ed” by the race.

Fiona McAnena, director of sport campaigns at Fair Play For

Women, said: “It’s inevitable that if we’re going to allow people who have been through male puberty into the category that is supposed to be for females, those people are going to outperform.

“Sport is based on your body, and we have a female category in most sports because male puberty confers such a lifelong advantage.”

Bridges and Chant raced despite Bridges being barred by British Cycling from racing against fivetimes Olympic gold medallist Dame Laura Kenny in March, when she was deemed ineligible.

ThunderCri­t said their format “will continue to evolve” to deliver inclusivit­y and fair racing.

Its statement on Saturday read: “We created a more gender neutral categorisa­tion allowing trans and gender-noncomform­ing athletes, who often feel that there is no safe space for them in the sport, to be embraced and welcomed.”

 ?? Pictures: TIM STEWART NEWS ?? Podium positions...Bridges, Chant and Smith celebrate their finishes at Herne Hill velodrome
Pictures: TIM STEWART NEWS Podium positions...Bridges, Chant and Smith celebrate their finishes at Herne Hill velodrome
 ?? ?? Barred...trans cyclist Emily Bridges
Barred...trans cyclist Emily Bridges

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