Women's cycling in the Netherlands has been turned on its head after the newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad revealed that a female cyclist was in fact born as a man 32 years ago. The rider debuted this year in the women's field and immediately the rumour mills began questioning her sexuality as a result of her performance and visual characteristics.
After a few podium places and a win in a regional race, a fellow cyclist questioned the rider on the topic, which lead to the paper running the story. The Dutch cyclist has refused to comment on the matter, but a spokesperson from her club spoke with the paper. "If there are people who have a problem with [the rider's] trans-sexuality then they should take it up with the cycle federation," the source said. "She received a valid licence from them."
The Dutch cycling federation, KNWU, doesn't see a problem with the situation. "[The rider] under went a medical examination and her passport states that she is a women," a KNWU spokesperson told the paper. "We understand that there are some people questioning this but everything is in order."
"We are still asking ourselves if it is a fair," confessed Sissy van Alebeek, a fellow competitor in the women's peloton. "Okay she received a licence, but it is all very unclear. [The rider] can ride very hard; a lot of riders are asking if she really is all women, if everything was taken off."
Discussions on a women's cycling website in Holland also began posing the same questions as that of Van Alebeek's, which prompted the webmaster to close the forum, stating that: "all the anonymous curses getting out of line."
In 2002 a Canadian transgender competitor was selected for the national mountainbike team to contest the World Championships that year, which lead to resistance from some team members.