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Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges not allowed to compete at National Omnium Championships

British Cycling said it had been informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) that under their current guidelines Emily Bridges is not eligible to participate in the women's event at the National Omnium Championships in Derby

A general view of a Great Britain cyclist on their bike during a track cycling training session
Image: The UCI said Emily Bridges is not permitted to compete this weekend

British Cycling says transgender cyclist Emily Bridges is not eligible to participate at Saturday's National Omnium Championships.

Bridges was due to compete in her first women's event in Derby, coming up against five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny.

However, British Cycling said it was informed by the UCI, cycling's governing body, that she is not eligible under its current guidelines.

"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," a British Cycling statement read.

"We acknowledge the decision of the UCI with regards to Emily's participation, however we fully recognise her disappointment with today's decision.

"Transgender and non-binary inclusion is bigger than one race and one athlete - it is a challenge for all elite sports. We believe all participants within our sport deserve more clarity and understanding around participation in elite competitions and we will continue to work with the UCI on both Emily's case and the wider situation with regards to this issue."

Emma Bridges will come up against five-time Olympic cycling champion Dame Laura Kenny at Satuday's event.
Image: Bridges was due to face five-time Olympic cycling champion Dame Laura Kenny at Saturday's event

British Cycling also called for a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how fairness can achieved in elite sport while also maintaining the dignity and respect of all athletes.

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"Within recent years, we've seen huge advancements in the science and testing around elite sports, the broader scientific and understanding of human biology, developments in protection provided by the law, and crucially a greater respect for the psychological and societal challenges of those who are transgender and non-binary. This is a complex area and by uniting, we can share resources and insights.

"We know that some of these conversations are happening in pockets of the sporting world, but we want to encourage all sporting governing bodies, athletes, the transgender and non-binary athlete community, the Government and beyond to come together and find a better answer.

"Across sports, far more needs to be done, collectively, before any long-term conclusions can be drawn."

Laura Kenny pictured during the Women's Omnium scratch race, 1 round of 4 the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Image: Laura Kenny pictured during the Women's Omnium scratch race, 1 round of 4 the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

British Cycling updated its transgender regulations this year, with riders required to have testosterone levels below five nanomoles per litre for a 12-month period prior to racing.

While she was completing her hormone therapy as part of her gender dysphoria treatment, Bridges continued to compete in men's events, winning the men's points race at the British University Championships in Glasgow.

In an interview with Cycling Weekly earlier this month, Bridges opened up on the goal she had set herself to compete in a women's event.

"It was always the plan," said Bridges.

"After starting hormone therapy I didn't want to race in the male category any more than I had to - obviously, it sucks, getting dropped, racing as a man when you're not one. It was quickly apparent that was the wrong category for me.

"By the summer of 2020 I'd fallen out of love with the sport. I couldn't live like that any more - I couldn't be my true self."

Coming Out: Emily Bridges' transgender journey

Emily Bridges first came out in an interview with Sky Sports back in October 2020, in which she opened up on her journey so far as an elite cyclist.

Opening up on her hopes for the future, she said: "There's such a long way to go in making sport, specifically cycling, more inclusive. We need to encourage more people from BAME backgrounds, more women, disabled people and LGBTQ+ people into cycling. It's still seen as the domain of white, middle-aged, middle class men, and it needs to represent the wider population much better, and be more accessible.

"I hope that I can be a small part of changing the culture for the better and encourage people in the sporting world to fully be themselves. I also want to show that people shouldn't have to choose between being themselves and doing the sport that they love. Sport has to be for everyone, regardless of who they are.

"I know that people will have questions about fairness. I feel I have an opportunity to show that the existing eligibility rules for trans athletes in competition are appropriate.

"Whatever level I'm riding at, I have such a passion for the sport that I love. Ultimately, I want to try to be the best possible athlete and individual I can be.

"For those that know me, I'm still the same person. The difference is that now I'm being more true to myself. I hope that by sharing the story of my coming out, it helps someone else out there to be true too."

You can read Emily's full Coming Out story here:

Emily Bridges: Coming out as trans in cycling is a crucial step on my journey | Cycling News | Sky Sports

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