Cynisca Cycling parted ways with its director and three-time Olympian Inga Thompson on Thursday after she called on cyclists to protest the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) policy on transgender athletes.
Thompson called the protest Sunday after Austin Killips, a transgender woman, won the Tour de Gila all-around against biological women.
«Inga Thompson is no longer a member of Cynisca’s board of directors and will have no consulting or other role with Cynisca,» the team said in a statement, via Cycling Weekly.
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«The association with Ms. Thompson has affected Cynisca’s brand and reputation.»
Cynisca Cycling was formed earlier this year in hopes of developing the next cream of the crop in the sport. Thompson was invited to the team’s board of directors due to her «impressive track record and great knowledge of international race strategy, tactics and training,» the team said, according to Cycling Weekly.
The team accused Thompson of trying to intimidate staff members and using the team’s platform «for his political activity.»
«Ms. Thompson’s departure resolves a troubling conflict of interest. Cynisca is an apolitical organization, and its campaign and methods, by statute, the UCI Code of Ethics, US law, and decency, are not and they will never be Cynisca’s mission,» the statement read. .
«To be clear, Ms. Thompson is entitled to her opinions and advocacy, but her personal methods and attacks are inconsistent with Cynisca’s mission to advance opportunity for women. Those methods, well documented in the presence of Ms. Thompson on social media, include dehumanizing transgender people, spreading misinformation, demagogy, and personal attacks on anyone who opposes their views.
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«Our mission has been and always will be to advance women at all levels of cycling and to do so within a framework of equality, fairness and tolerance. Despite the negativity fostered by Ms. Thompson, we are succeeding and will move forward. faster without his.»
Responding to the team’s decision, Thompson wrote on Twitter: «So excited for @CyniscaC One’s maiden voyage and press release release, short hiatus, and they became the Titanic.»
Thompson won three silver medals at the UCI Road World Championships and one silver at the 1987 Pan American Games.
She tweeted on Sunday: «It’s time for women cyclists to start protesting against @UCI_cycling policy. Start kneeling at the start lines. Team managers need to speak up and protect their riders. Keep signs up at every race.» Let’s save women’s sports.'»
She appeared on «Fox & Friends» on Tuesday and echoed his statement.
The UCI, the world governing body for cycling sport, initially defended its participation policy but appeared to change its tune on Thursday, according to The Guardian.
“The objective of the UCI 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 listens to the voices of female athletes and their concerns about a level playing field for female competitors and will take all elements into account, including evolving scientific knowledge.»
Killips became the first transgender woman to win a UCI stage race.
The UCI has tightened its rules for transgender runners to compete against biological women in its events. According to Reuters, the organization halved the maximum allowable plasma testosterone level to 2.5 nanomoles per liter and doubled the transition period to 24 months.
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Killips dismissed the uproar as «nonsense» in an Instagram post.