Inga Thompson, an American road cyclist who represented Team USA three times at the Olympics, called on professional riders to protest Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) polices for transgender athletes’ participation in the sport.
Thompson’s tweet Sunday came about a week after Austin Killips, a transgender female, won the Tour of the Gila overall category against biological females.
“It is time for Women Cyclist to start protesting @UCI_cycling Policy,” Thompson tweeted. “Start taking a knee at the starting lines. Team managers need to speak up and protect their riders. Hold signs at every race ‘Save Women’s Sports.’”
Thompson won three silver medals at the UCI Road World Championships and a silver at the Pan American Games in 1987.
The UCI, the world governing body for sports cycling, initially defended its participation policy but appeared to change its tone on Thursday, according to The Guardian.
“The UCI’s objective remains the same: to take into consideration, in the context of the evolution of our society, the desire of transgender athletes to practice cycling,” the organization said. “The UCI also hears the voices of female athletes and their concerns about an equal playing field for competitors and will take into account all elements, including the evolution of scientific knowledge.”
Killips became the first transgender female to win a UCI stage race.
The UCI tightened its rules for transgender female riders to compete against biological females in its events. According to Reuters, the organization halved the maximum permitted plasma testosterone level to 2.5 nanomoles per liter and doubled the transition period to 24 months.
Killips dismissed the uproar as “nonsense” in an Instagram post.