Picture: From left, Marion Norbert Riberolle, Denise Betsema and Austin Killips on the podium after the "Kasteelcross" event in the "Exact Cross" competition, Jan. 21, 2023, in Zonnebeke, Belgium.(David Pintens/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images)
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Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for sports cycling, defended Austin Killips after the transgender female cyclist picked up an overall victory in the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.
Killips broke free from the pack in the final minutes of the race, clocking in at 3:07:16 and defeating Marcela Prieto and Cassandra Nelson in the stage. Killips became the first transgender female to win a UCI stage race.
Killips’ win caused a massive uproar on social media. However, the UCI came out in defense of its policy.
"The UCI acknowledges that transgender athletes may wish to compete in accordance with their gender identity," the organization said Tuesday.
"The UCI rules are based on the latest scientific knowledge and have been applied in a consistent manner. The UCI continues to follow the evolution of scientific findings and may change its rules in the future as scientific knowledge evolves."
Austin Killips dismissed the uproar as "nonsense" in an Instagram post. (David Pintens/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images)
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.
"After a week of nonsense on the internet I'm especially thankful to everyone in the peloton and sport who continue to affirm that twitter is not real life," she said in her post. "I love my peers and competitors and am grateful for every opportunity I get to learn and grow as a person and athlete on course together."