(USNewsMag.com) – Austin Killips, 27, is the latest transgender athlete to win first place in the women’s division, taking home the win in a cycling tour in North Carolina. Killips beat the runner up in the division by 5 minutes.
After taking the lead at the beginning of the June 10 race, Killips never had a competitor come close to catching him during the 137-mile Belgian Waffle Ride, which was held in Hendersonville. The closest competitors were female riders Paige Onwelle, who took home second place, and Flavia Oliveira, who took home third place.
While Onweller said transgender athletes should be treated with respect, she also stated that female and male strength were “not comparable.” In a blog post, she suggested that a category for transgender athletes could potentially be formed.
In 2019, Killips announced he was transgender and began entering competitions in the women’s division.
In the December 2022 UCI Cyclocross National Championships, video showed Killips seemingly trying to push female cyclist Hannah Arensman, 24, off the race course. The inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s cycling events caused Arensman to take an early retirement, saying she was disheartened that she would “lose no matter how hard I train.” Killips went on to win the race.
In May, Killips also won a five-day international cycling competition in New Mexico, the Tour of the Gila.
In May, Union Cycliste Internationale as well as USA Cycling said Killips meets the rules regarding transgender athletes. However, after Killips’ win in the Tour of the Gila and the push back from other athletes, Union Cycliste Internationale announced it would be reviewing its guidelines for transgender athletes, with a new decision to be released in August. The guidelines are currently more relaxed than in sports such as swimming.
Critics of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports have said that biological advantages make it impossible for women to win. Supporters claim hormone guidelines make the playing field level.
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