AIGLE, Switzerland — Cycling’s governing body updated its eligibility rules for transgender athletes on Thursday with stricter limits that will force riders to wait longer before they can compete.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has increased the low testosterone transition period to two years and lowered the maximum accepted level of testosterone.
The previous transition period was 12 months, but the UCI said recent scientific studies show that “expected adaptations in muscle mass and muscle strength/power” in athletes who transitioned from male to woman take at least two years.
“Given the important role played by muscular strength and power in cycling performance, the UCI has decided to increase the transition period for low testosterone from 12 to 24 months,” the body said. management after a meeting of the board of directors.
The UCI has also reduced the maximum level of testosterone allowed in transgender athletes to 2.5 nanomoles (nmol) per liter instead of the current 5.
“This value corresponds to the peak level of testosterone found in 99.99% of the female population,” the governing body said.
He added that the adjustment “aims to promote the inclusion of transgender athletes in competitive sport, while maintaining the fairness, equal opportunity and safety of competitions.”
The rule will come into effect on July 1.
The International Olympic Committee updated its own guidelines on transgender eligibility in November, but left it up to individual sports bodies to set their own rules.
The IOC then said that “athletes should be allowed to compete but unfair advantages must be regulated”.
Critics of the transgender athlete policy have argued that some physical advantages are retained by women who have gone through male puberty.
World swimming body FINA is due to release its policy on transgender athletes on Sunday.