Transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon defends sprint title but rides into Twitter storm

Rachel McKinnon, middle, alongside Orwick, left, and Herup Savange (Rachel McKinnon Instagram)
12:28pm, Mon 21 Oct 2019
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Transgender athlete Rachel McKinnon has defended her sprint title at the Masters Track Cycling World Championships.

The 37-year-old competed in the women's 35-39 category in Manchester.

The athlete's victory added another to her list as she won the 500m time trial earlier in the week. It was the first time a transgender cyclist has competed on British soil.

The Canadian beat Dawn Orwick, who claimed silver, and Kirsten Herup Sovang who picked up the bronze medal.

McKinnon's victory was overshadowed by the uproar that followed on Twitter. Some cycling fans said it was unfair that the athlete could compete against cis women. Cis is a term meaning someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.

However, before the race took place, McKinnon defended her position and said it would be against her "human rights" to stop her competing. 

Despite advocating for her right to compete and setting a world best time in qualifying, the athlete has ruled out competing at the Olympics.

McKinnon said: "The Olympics was realistic until this past year. The progress I was making stalled with a crash last July so, had I kept improving and getting faster, it would have been possible.

"I am hopeful that at least one trans person will be the first ever into the Olympics in Tokyo."