Transgender women cyclists being moved to new men/open category

The International Cycling Union, the governing body of cycling, has banned transgender women who have undergone male puberty from competing in the female category of competitive events and renamed the men's category men/open.

The new rules go into effect Monday. Athletes who do not qualify for the female category will be able to enter men/open events without restriction.

"At an extraordinary meeting held on 5 July, the Management Committee of the UCI decided to adapt the current UCI rules on the right of female transgender athletes to take part in competitions on the UCI International Calendar," the UCI said in a statement Friday. "From now on, female transgender athletes who have transitioned after [male] puberty will be prohibited from participating in women's events on the UCI International Calendar -- in all categories -- in the various disciplines."

The UCI said it would hold talks with other sporting bodies over a jointly funded "research programme aimed at studying changes in the physical performance of highly-trained athletes undergoing transitional hormone treatment."

The organization had previously allowed transgender women with reduced testosterone to take part in female events. It agreed to review its rules after American Austin Killips became the first transgender rider to win a UCI women's stage race this year by taking the fifth stage of the Tour of the Gila.

"The UCI would like to reaffirm that cycling -- as a competitive sport, leisure activity or means of transport -- is open to everyone, including transgender people, whom we encourage like everyone else to take part in our sport," UCI president David Lappartient said. "... However, it has a duty to guarantee, above all, equal opportunities for all competitors in cycling competitions.

"... Given the current state of scientific knowledge does not guarantee such equality of opportunity between transgender female athletes and cisgender female participants, it was not possible, as a precautionary measure, to authorize the former to race in the female categories."

British Cycling banned transgender women from competing in the female category of competitive events in May.

Governing bodies in track and field and swimming have barred athletes who have undergone male puberty from competing in international women's events.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.