Women’s cycling race saved after campaigns raise public support

UPDATE : Saturday 16th April

Sex Matters and Fair Play For Women welcome the announcement that the Women’s CiCLE Classic has been saved, with an offer of a three-year sponsorship deal being finalised by the race organiser.

Sex-based rights groups make formal bid to sponsor women’s cycle race

The CiCLE Classic race was left in peril after the withdrawal of sponsorship last week in protest at British Cycling reviewing its “trans and non-binary inclusion policy”.

Sex Matters and Fair Play For Women were able to step in with an immediate offer of sponsorship for one year, which meant that the race would go ahead no matter what.

Colin Clews, the race organiser, thanked the two campaign groups for their early support, saying:

“We cannot thank enough all those who have given their support to us regarding this issue. We wish to particularly thank the joint ‘Sex Matters’ and the ‘Fair Play For Women’ offer to make good the shortfall this year from a single source. That immediately gave us heart that come what may, the race would continue. We remain eternally grateful for this offer.“

Following multiple offers of support, and the prospect of a three-year sponsorship deal, Mr Clews has opened up a crowdfunder for this year, to harness the groundswell of support from the cycling community and from those concerned with fairness and safety in women’s sports more broadly.

Maya Forstater, Executive Director of Sex Matters, said:

“So many women and men contacted us, and the race organiser, to say that they would support the race. We are proud that we were able to act quickly with Fair Play for Women to offer to step in as sponsors. We wish the organisers luck with the crowdfunder and hope that the funding target will quickly be reached – showing how many people are willing to stand up for fairness and safety in women’s sports.”

Nicola Williams, Executive Director of Fair Play For Women, said:

“Women must never be punished for wanting safe and fair sporting competition. I instantly knew our supporters would want us to intervene to save this race and I’m delighted to hear the long-term future of this prestigious women’s event is once again secure.”

You can support the crowdfunder at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ciclewomens4ever

ORIGINAL STORY: Sex Matters and Fair Play for Women bid to save women’s cycling

Sex Matters and Fair Play for Women have made a formal offer to sponsor the prestigious sixth Women’s CiCLE Classic, part of the British Cycling Women’s National Road Series.

The 105-mile road race, which is planned to take place in Rutland on Sunday 19th June, has been put into peril because a longstanding sponsor, Peter Stanton, withdrew personal financial support for the race in protest at British Cycling’s decision to suspend its Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy

Women's CiCLE Classic sponsor withdraws funding in protest over British Cycling's suspension of trans athlete policy

The policy allowed male riders who identify as women or non-binary to ride competitively against female riders, provided they made a solemn declaration regarding their gender identity, and had testosterone levels below 5nmol/L for a 12-month period prior to competition.

Sex Matters and Fair Play For Women, together with sports scientists and many athletes, have argued that these rules are unfair to female riders. Studies have shown that testosterone suppression in adult males results in only small reductions in muscle strength, and no change in underlying skeletal structure. 

The UK Sports Councils last year issued guidance warning sports governing bodies that exclusion of all males from women’s sports is necessary to provide fairness and safety for female participants. 

(Thank you for all the offers of support – we will let you know how to donate if our sponsorship offer is accepted.)

Read our press release.