Over the weekend, transgender cyclist Austin Killips competed in the women’s Tour of the Gila tournament, a major Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-sanctioned competition in Silver City, New Mexico.
UCI is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland.
Killips, sponsored by the Amy D Foundation, ultimately won the race, beating all biological women in the tournament to claim the “queen of the mountains polka dot jersey” and a $35,000 prize.
According to a press release from Tour of the Gila, “But it was all eyes on the overall race lead, in which only 10 seconds separated leader Killips from Emily Ehrlich (Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24) and Ehrlich’s third stage race win of the year. But Killips put the kibosh on any triple crown for TWENTY24,” referring to the other two competitors’ sponsor.
“We really wanted to get into a break,” Julie Kuliecza, the team director of Killips’ sponsor – Amy D Foundation – said afterward to Cycling News. “We thought that there was going to be something that would go right after the second sprint point, and we wanted a rider in that break so that when Austin and the other GC riders came up to it, Austin would have someone to help them and protect them, and it worked out perfectly.”
As Fox News reported, “Killips was also the subject of controversy at the UCI Cyclocross National Championships in December 2022, when she was accused of pushing another competitor off course. Killips denied making the move in a statement to the Los Angeles Blade.”
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“In my book, athletes like Austin Killips are thieves – yet those whose prizes they take are being forced to maintain this mortifying charade,” wrote Allison Pearson of The Telegraph after Killips’ win.
Killips’ presence in women’s competitive cycling pushed cyclist Hannah Arensman, just 25, to quit the sport, saying his presence in the competition was an “unfair advantage.”
Arensman said, “I have decided to end my cycling career. At my last race at the recent UCI Cyclocross National Championships in the elite women’s category in December 2022, I came in 4th place, flanked on either side by male riders awarded 3rd and 5th places. My sister and family sobbed as they watched a man finish in front of me, having witnessed several physical interactions with him throughout the race.”
“Additionally, it is difficult for me to think about the very real possibility I was overlooked for an international selection on the US team at Cyclocross Worlds in February 2023 because of a male competitor,” she concluded.