British Cycling are investigating a complaint into how a transgender woman won a national series mountain-bike race after the governing body had voted last month to suspend its trans inclusion policy.
Maxine Yates, a transgender woman, won the women’s 19+ category in British Cycling’s downhill national series event at Fort William earlier this month.
She was competing in what is considered to be the “expert” category – below the higher elite level – but British Cycling had made no distinction when it announced the immediate suspension of its transgender and non-binary policy on April 8, pending a full review.
Jane Page, who finished second to Yates in the race, is among those who have now raised the matter with British Cycling and accused the governing body of failing to implement its own rules.
Yates told The Times she had checked with British Cycling to see whether she could race. “As I already had a licence and was not competing at an elite level, I was allowed to compete, is what BC informed me,” she said. “I’ve taken their advice at every turn and am disappointed BC have let this go on as far as it has. I have followed their rules.”
The suspension of the transgender policy had followed the decision to accept Emily Bridges’s entry for the national track omnium championships, only for the world governing body to rule that her application would be deferred to an expert panel.
British Cycling and the UCI’s most recent rules stated that transgender women could race in the female category provided that their testosterone had continuously remained below 5mnol for 12 months.
The UCI’s medical rules also state that they must “guarantee fair and meaningful competition” – a clause deemed potentially highly relevant by some senior administrators. The UCI were expected to make their Bridges ruling within six weeks but it is now more than eight weeks since her application was blocked.
There is also huge frustration at how British Cycling has not clarified its guidance since suspending its own transgender policy.
“So we’re now 58 days into waiting,” tweeted Bridges’s mother, Sandy Sullivan. “Waiting for an explanation as to why what Em was told on 30th March ‘yes, this does mean you can race in domestic, non UCI point races’ changed, why the policy was pulled and what happens next. BTW, we’ve NEVER been sent the minutes of that mtg despite having requested them. And. This towards an athlete who WAS on Commonwealth Games long list. Acceptable Sports Governance by an org that receives £millions?”
It is understood that British Cycling is still waiting to discover the UCI’s stance after its president Davide Lappartient had suggested that the current testosterone limit was not sufficient.
“Like a lot of women, I feel really let down by this,” Page said (to The Times).