'Moving the goalposts': Cyclist Emily Bridges speaks out on UCI toughening trans participation rules

Bridges sit down with Steve Scott, image not for use until national publish on 06/06/22
Credit: ITV News

Trans cyclist Emily Bridges has accused the sport’s world governing body - the UCI - of a "last minute moving of the goalposts" after it announced changes to its inclusion policy.

Bridges learnt about the new rule, which comes into effect on July 1, through the media which her family says has created “a significant amount of distress and upset" for her.

The UCI cited new research for their sudden change of policy, which will now require trans athletes to reduce their testosterone levels to even lower levels and for a longer period time: two years now, rather than one.

A statement on behalf of Bridges stated that when the UCI announced its significant change of direction, “we'd received no communication from the UCI on their plans and, specifically, how it impacts Em's current application which has been part of the UCI process since March 2022.

"Given that the UCI requested, on May 11, Em provide additional blood tests (specifically over an extended period of three months) and detailed personal information.

"We are now seeking clarity on why they asked for this information when they were planning on a policy change.”

If none of Bridges’ tests can be backdated, on the assumption her testosterone levels are already below the new required levels, it means she could now be sidelined until 2024.

British Cycling ripped up its own policy recently when Bridges was barred from racing in the women’s Omnium championships; it’s likely they will now introduce a new version to align with the UCI.

In a statement released on Friday, announcing it's change of policy, the UCI said: "This adjustment of the UCI's eligibility rules is based on the state of scientific knowledge published to date in this area and is intended to promote the integration of transgender athletes into competitive sport, while maintaining fairness, equal opportunities and the safety of competitions.

"The new rules will come into force on July 1. They may change in the future as scientific knowledge evolves."Moreover, the UCI envisages discussions with other International Federations about the possibility of supporting a research programme whose objective would be to study the evolution of the physical performance of highly trained athletes under transitional hormone treatment."

ITV News has contacted UCI for a comment in response to the statement made on behalf of Emily Bridges.

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