Cynisca Cycling parted ways with manager and three-time Olympian Inga Thompson on Thursday after calling on cyclists to protest the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) transgender athlete policy.
Thompson called for the protest on Sunday after Austin Killips, a transgender woman, won the overall category of the Tour of Gila against biological women.
“Inga Thompson is no longer a member of Cynisca’s board of directors and will have no advisory 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 crème de la crème in the sport. Thompson was invited to the team’s board because of her “impressive track record and wealth of knowledge of international racing strategy, tactics and training,” the team said, according to Cycling Weekly. .
The team accused Thompson of trying to intimidate staffers 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 charter, UCI code of ethics, American law and decency, are not and will not be ever Cynisca’s mission,” the statement read. .
“To be clear, Ms. Thompson is entitled to her opinions and advocacy, but her methods and personal attacks are inconsistent with Cynisca’s mission to advance opportunities for women. These methods, well documented on Ms. Thompson on social media, include dehumanizing transgender people, spreading misinformation, grandstanding and personal attacks on anyone who opposes her 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 fueled by Ms. Thompson, we are succeeding and will move forward faster without sound.”
In response to the team’s decision, Thompson wrote on Twitter, “I was so excited for the maiden voyage and launch of @CyniscaC One press release, one brief hiatus, and they became the Titanic.”
Thompson won three silver medals at the UCI Road World Championships and a silver medal at the Pan American Games in 1987.
She tweeted on Sunday: “It’s time for women cyclists to start protesting the @UCI_cycling policy. Start kneeling at the start lines. Team leaders need to speak up and protect their riders. Hold signs at every ‘Save Women’s Sports race.'”
She appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday and echoed her statement.
The UCI, the world governing body for sport cycling, initially defended its participation policy but appeared to change its tone 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”, specifies the organization. “The UCI also hears the voice of female athletes and their concerns regarding equal opportunities for female competitors and will take into account all elements, including the evolution of scientific knowledge.”
Killips became the first transgender woman to win a UCI stage race.
The UCI has tightened its rules for transgender riders 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 called the uproar “nonsense” in an Instagram post.