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Biological male cyclists take top spots at women's cycling championship

Unsplash/Brent Olson
Unsplash/Brent Olson

Two biologically male athletes who identify as females took the top spots in an Illinois cycling competition last weekend after taking the top two places in an October race. 

Results from the Montrose Beach Cyclocross event in Montrose Beach, Chicago, Sunday show that Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson won first and second place, respectively, in the Cyclocross Women Single Speed race.

Johnson finished the race in 33 minutes and 33 seconds, while Williamson completed it in 35 minutes and 28 seconds. The third-place finisher, Kristen Chalmers, finished the race in 36 minutes and 48 seconds.

In a social media post Sunday, Riley Gaines, a former collegiate swimmer who has emerged as one of the most forceful critics of policies allowing trans-identified athletes to compete on sports teams that align with their stated gender identity, said that "two men take 1st & 2nd at the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships yesterday." She lamented, "@usacycling has 2 categories for men and none for women." 

An X account with the handle @i_heart_bikes provided a picture of the top three finishers, asserting that "men took the top two podium spots in the women's singlespeed category at the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships." The post noted that "Tessa (Michael) Johnson took [first place] and 'Evelyn' Williamson took [second place]." 

"Thanks to @usacycling, men are racing in women's categories all over the US," the post added.

A spreadsheet documenting the results of the 2023 Chicago CycloCross Cup, of which the Montrose Beach race was the eighth and final event, shows that Johnson won first place overall in both the Women Single Speed category and the Women's Category 1/2. This makes Johnson a 2023 Illinois State Cyclocross champion in two separate categories. 

Johnson and Williamson took the top two spots at the Chicago CycloCross Cup in October, and Johnson previously competed in men's categories at Clemson University, OutKick reports.

The participation of trans-identified males in women's sports has become a hot-button issue in American politics.

Arguments against allowing trans-identified athletes to compete on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity as opposed to their biological sex focus on the concerns that the physical differences between men and women give male athletes, on average, an unfair advantage over their female counterparts. 

USA Powerlifting, a national sporting organization that enacted bans on biological men competing in women's sports, identifies the differences between men and women as "increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue."

A 2020 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that trans-identified male athletes maintain an advantage over biologically female athletes even after two years of taking feminizing hormones. 

Two dozen states have banned trans-identified males from competing in women's sports at the K-12 level and/or the collegiate level: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

A poll of 1,011 United States adults conducted by Gallup in May found that 69% of respondents believed that trans-identified athletes "should only be allowed to play on teams that match their birth gender," while 26% thought that "transgender athletes should be able to play on sports teams that match their current gender identity."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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