Former Olympian says she was 'gobsmacked' over former team's scathing remarks on her views on trans policy

Cynisca Cycling issued a scathing rebuke of Inga Thompson last week

Inga Thompson, a three-time Olympian who came out against cycling’s transgender participation policy in wake of Austin Killips’ Tour of the Gila win, said Friday she was surprised over the way her former team ridiculed her for her viewpoints.

Thompson called for cyclists to protest against Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) policy, including "taking a knee at the starting lines." Later, Cynisca Cycling announced it has removed Thompson as director.

"If shared in the absence of politics, Inga’s knowledge and experience would benefit many and advance cycling for everyone," the team said. "However, she has decided to dedicate her time to excluding people who are otherwise and currently eligible to compete in UCI events. She has also attempted to use our team as a platform for her political activity


Inga Thompson raises her hands

Inga Thompson Bennett in August 1986. (Duane Howell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Thompson told The Telegraph she never used the team as a platform and was only "advocating for women’s sports."

"When I first had the statement sent to me, I thought it was an internal document," Thompson added. "Then, about an hour later, I realized it was a public document, and I was horrified. This is exactly why people don’t speak up, because this is what happens when you do."

Thompson said she was not even the director at that point. She said she stopped the role 10 days before Cynisca’s scathing statement.

"I’m gobsmacked. I got taken off the team in late November, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I told them that I needed to step down because I needed to take care of my health," she said.

"I went through surgery and had a double mastectomy. I’m cancer-free now. I don’t understand the retaliation here. I don’t throw wild stuff out there. I’m pretty measured. I have made it clear that I’m not attacking Austin, who is within rights to race. I’m attacking policy."

Inga Thompson at 1992 Olympics

Inga Thompson speaks to a television reporter after the Women's Road Race in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia near Barcelona on July 26, 1992 during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. (David Madison/Getty Images)


placeholderThompson won three silver medals at the UCI Road World Championships and a silver at the Pan American Games in 1987. She participated in three Olympics for the U.S.

The UCI, the world governing body for sports cycling, initially defended its participation policy but appeared to change its tone on Thursday, according to The Guardian.

"The UCI’s objective 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 hears the voices of female athletes and their concerns about an equal playing field for competitors and will take into account all elements, including the evolution of scientific knowledge."

Austin Killips in January 2023

Austin Killips pictured on the podium after the women's elite race of the "Kasteelcross" cyclocross in January 2023. (DAVID PINTENS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Killips became the first transgender female to win a UCI stage race.

The UCI tightened its rules for transgender female riders to compete against biological females in its events. According to Reuters, the organization halved the maximum permitted plasma testosterone level to 2.5 nanomoles per liter and doubled the transition period to 24 months.

Killips dismissed the uproar as "nonsense" in an Instagram post.

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