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  • Pete

    Just have a transgender category and save all the arguments.

    • Powers

      So transmen competing against transwomen? How is that more fair than having transwomen compete against ciswomen?

      • It sounds like Pete is either just trying to lump all trans people together, which is unfair, or he is making an assumption that someone who was born female, who now has the physical advantage of corrective male levels of testosterone, will be somewhat equal to someone who was born male, but now has the (physical) disadvantage of highly reduced levels of testosterone. That second possibility has some merit, subject to further research, as you have a group of people who, on average, were were born with less physical strength, but are now boosted through hormone therapy, and a group of people, who, on average, were born with more physical strength, but are now less strong through hormone replacement therapy and possibly surgery to remove the testes. In terms of strength/endurance they may come out somewhere in the middle, on average, but without further research there is no way to know.

        Really though, that whole question of how to find “fairness” in racing is unanswerable, as there are people who, regardless of gender, are born with a genetic advantage or disadvantage. There are women born on the higher end of the female bell curve who are naturally much stronger than men born on the lower end of their bell curve. There are people who are born with bodies that give them much higher testosterone levels or hematocrits than their peers of the same gender, or who have a muscle fiber makeup that makes them particularly adept at their chosen sport. Unless you are going to do a full genetic assessment of every rider, and selectively alter their bodies to fit some predetermined norm (which is medically impossible at this point, even if people agreed to it), racing will be intrinsically unfair. We just need to accept that, and enjoy it for what it is.

        • DaveRides

          If you want absolute fairness, abolish ALL discrimination on sex or gender and simply have ability-based grades, i.e. Elite, Grade A, Grade B etc.

          Make cycling about what a rider does with their legs, not which parts dangle between them.

          • That would need to be based on current FTP, with mandatory upgrades after a certain number of top finishes, and downgrades if one’s power is reduced due to aging, injury, or a period of detraining. Otherwise, you get people sandbagging and staying in a grade lower than they truly belong, in order to dominate their “peers”, or others who may be horribly outgunned, just because they previously were faster when in top form.

            • redhead322

              Every race, across categories and cycling disciplines already has people sandbagging and staying in a grade lower than they truly belong, in order to dominate their “peers”!

              • Yes, that is essentially correct, all the way until you get to the pro level. Even then, I suppose, there are pros who avoid the big international races and instead race their national or regional series in order to ensure they are a big fish in a small pond, so really I should say that sandbagging occurs right up until the World Tour level of pros. No judgements, as there is a lot to be said for being a “big fish”, rather than an “also ran”. For pros, it can be the difference between a magazine cover with series champ jersey and near anonymity with a 150th place in the TDF.

            • DaveRides

              So you have the same issues that currently exist with grading, but without the sex/gender issues.

              Sounds like a winner to me!

  • Tan

    Considering she is biologically male hence naturally will be stronger physically, how does competing with biologically female fair? Do having a testosterone level equal to a female means her strength will be of a female? Just asking

    • Wily_Quixote

      Testosterone decreases when feminising hormones are taken and then permanently lowers when testicles are removed.

      • Tan

        So their physical strength will be equal to a woman as well? When testicles are removed

        • Morgan Styer

          Hormone replacement therapy will reduce testosterone to a level well below the average found in cisgender women. An orchiectomy completely eliminates any testosterone in the body. Physical changes happen dramatically within only a few months of starting HRT. This includes a reduction in muscle mass, redistribution of body fat, significantly reduced power output on the bike, and slower recovery.

          • Tan

            Interesting, never knew that. Thanks!

          • Cameron

            “An orchiectomy completely eliminates any testosterone in the body.”


            • Rodrigo Diaz

              no, not completely. There’s testosterone produced in both male and women naturally.

              This has been an emerging problem with some athletes (Caster Semenya) and it seems to have been settled on some baseline testosterone level which female athletes need to test under. This is still very much in its beginnings and I think we’ll see lots more as it evolves.

        • Wily_Quixote

          Don’t know for sure, and depends what you mean by strength.
          Given that cycling performance, except possibly for track sprints, is not generally a function of explosive power I am not sure that ‘strength’ is any advantage over aero, weight and endurance capacity which seems to define most road cycling success.
          I imagine that residual ‘strength’ would be maintained in a person undergoing gender reassignment but that aspect of strength that relies on testosterone for maintenance, or trained improvement, would be missing. In short, a woman who had been previously a man would be weaker than their previous self.
          Would they be ‘stronger’ than a biological female of equivalent frame? That is a different question.

    • DaveRides

      Hormone therapy doesn’t do anything about the skeletal structure.

      Cycling is a sport that heavily favours the male skeletal structure that is optimised for bipedal motion, not the female skeletal structure optimised for bearing a child.

      • Amy Shepard

        Can you cite your sources, DaveRides? Have never seen any scientific articles stating that bone structure enhances someones cycling performance. As a primarily endurance sport, I can’t see how this would have an effect. There have been plenty of studies on the hormonal differences between men and women that point to testosterone and estrogen levels have a huge effect on muscle production and recovery, as well as lots of anecdotal data collected on trans athletes that shows that trans women typically have less testosterone than those born female (therefore being at an athletic disadvantage). The “unfair advantage” argument seems easily disproven by the fact that trans women are not disproportionately advancing or winning in sports when competing against non-trans women.

      • campirecord

        Please do not state something that is scientificly proven otherwise. This is like saying that bone density has nothing to do with hormones… The biggest issue here is all the training done pre op. Its an incredible amount of volume acquired that does not suddenly leave the body. Look at it from an EPO perspective, if you trained on EPO for 3 years and then stopped, your body still acquired 3 years of post threshold training that would help you at year 5, even if you stopped taking drugs at end of year 3.

  • Mike

    I feel sorry for someone like Kallie, who is trying to sort out an unbalanced life, but other people’s responses shouldn’t come as a surprise to her. She represents a vanishingly small proportion of the general population and, although her problems loom large in her life, they are of almost no significance to most other folk. Eventually, with a little patience and some luck, it will all get sorted. I hope so.

  • Marc

    I must say it’s sad to see Cyclingtips remove comments with facts they don’t like. My posts were polite and respectful. You only censor people if you’re afraid of the truth. If you think I was wrong, let me make a fool of myself and give everybody the opportunity to show how wrong I was. FYI I wrote a post about physical differences between male and female bodies.

    • Steve S

      It’s def getting a bit too PC around here. Lots of “social media” hysterics when people don’t like others opinions.

  • Linda Elgart

    I can personally say I have raced against trans women several times in my career, and have beaten them. So, I think after all the estrogen, etc, they are on a pretty level playing field.


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November 22, 2017
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