Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, defended the current transgender policy following Austin Killips win at Tour of the Gila.
Killips won the the five-day event, taking both the overall and the queen of the mountains. The cyclist also won the final stage up the dreaded Gila Monster climb.
The 27-year-old rider, who transitioned in 2019, is on the Amy D Foundation team. Team director Julie Kuliecza said the race went according to plan.
Killips was defending lead on final stage
“We really wanted to get into a break,” Julie Kuliecza said. “The team thought that there was going to be something that would go right after the second sprint point. We wanted a rider in that break so that when Austin and the other GC riders came up to it, Austin would have someone to help them and protect them. It worked out perfectly.”
Killips is the first openly transgender woman to win an official UCI women’s stage race, according to the Tour of the Gila website.
Following the race, amid a flurry of heated discussion on social media, the UCI defended the cyclist’s right to race in the elite women’s category.
UCI comments on the U.S. race
“The UCI acknowledges that transgender athletes may wish to compete in accordance with their gender identity,” a spokesperson for the the international cycling body said in a statement that was sent to CNN. “The UCI rules are based on the latest scientific knowledge and have been applied in a consistent manner,” the statement continued. “We continue to follow the evolution of scientific findings.”
The UCI added it may change its rules in the future as scientific knowledge evolves.
The statement follows speculation that British Cycling may take an opposite approach, and ban transgender cyclists riding in elite women’s events. That approach would be similar to what the governing bodies for swimming and running have taken.