KNOXVILLE, TN – Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), Independent Women’s Network (IWN), and the Inga Thompson Foundation held an “Our Bodies, Our Sports: Keep Women’s Cycling Female” rally during the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships to protest Union Cycliste International’s (UCI) and USA Cycling’s rules allowing male competitors in the women’s division. The rally was held across from the legendary Pat Summitt Statue at the University of Tennessee to symbolize the importance of protecting Title IX and single-sex competition in order to preserve the integrity of women’s sports.

Severals athletes, coaches, elected officials, and advocates spoke at the rally, including: Inga Thompson, 3x Olympic cyclist who competed when there were no women’s teams; Riley Gaines, 12x All-American swimmer and advisor for Independent Women’s Voice; Payton McNabb, recent highschool graduate permanently injured by biological male playing in a women’s volleyball match and junior spokeswoman for Independent Women’s Forum; Barbara Ehardt, former 15-year career NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach, former NCAA basketball player, and current member of the Idaho House of Representatives from the 33rd district; Evie Edwards, elite women’s cyclist and the mother of an elementary-age female cyclist; Mary Verrandeaux, former U.S. National Cycling Team member who raced the 1985 Women’s Tour de France; Taylor Silverman, competitive skateboarder who lost 1st place to a male competitor at the Red Bull Cornerstone Contest; Michelle Parker, Nashville, TN Chapter leader for Independent Women’s Network and former youth athlete; Jill Savage, BlazeTV contributor and former reporter for Pac-12 Networks and NHL Network; Rep. Jason Zachary (TN-14); and Mayor Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs, mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, and former WWE wrestler.

At the event in Knoxville, IWN launched a “Keep Women’s Cycling Female” national petition for the public to sign that will be delivered to UCI and USA Cycling, which reads, in part: “In the world of sports, it is impossible to provide equal opportunities for both sexes without single-sex teams. Women deserve access to fair competition, equal opportunities, training, and victory. Don’t let women cyclists be unseated.”

American cycling star Chloé Dygert was victorious in achieving first place at today’s Pro Road Nationals. Biological male Austin Killips, who raced in today’s competition, placed ninth and just six seconds behind Dygert after leading the pack for much of the race. UCI and USA Cycling policy allows for biological males like Austin Killips to compete against biological females.

Inga Thompson, said, “Women’s sports were created for women. Women fought for years to have sex separated sports. No amount of testosterone suppression mitigates the advantages of being born male. Sports exist on the premise of fairness. There is no fairness or equal opportunity in sports for women if men with gender dysphoria are allowed to compete against women.”

Riley Gaines, added, “There’s no equity, fairness, sportsmanship, or opportunity for women to succeed at an elite level without sex-based categories. Allowing male athletes like Austin Killips to compete in the women’s category is an infringement on female cyclists.”

Coach Barbara Ehardt at the Title IX pioneer Pat Summitt’s statue and plaza on the campus of University of Tennessee.

To read and sign the “Keep Women’s Cycling Female” petition, click HERE.

The 2023 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships took place during National Women’s Sports Week (June 19-25, 2023). Women’s Sports Week was created to celebrate the incredible expansion of opportunities for female athletes since the passage of Title IX in 1972, recognize the role of Title IX in guaranteeing equal athletic opportunities, and champion female athletes of all ages.


  • IWF and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) filed a formal comment with the Department of Education opposing the Biden administration’s plan to gut Title IX by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), IWF’s c4 sister organization, drove more than 15,000 public comments to the Department. The comment can be found HERE
  • IWF and IWLC have produced a first of its kind report entitled, “Competition Report: Title IX, Male-Bodied Athletes, and the Threat To Women’s Sports,” to help athletic associations, policymakers, and courts understand the growing threat to female athletes. The second edition was released earlier this week. Read HERE
  • IW launched an open letter and public sign-on campaign spearheaded by over 100 athletes ranging from the high school, collegiate, and Olympic levels urging athletic associations, policy makers, and government officials not to destroy female athletics. The letter can be found HERE.
  • IWF’s Female Athlete Storytelling Drive featuring real stories from women athletes detailing the unfair personal experiences of competing with and against male-bodied athletes can be found HERE.
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
Independent Women’s Network, a project of Independent Women’s Voice, in partnership with Independent Women’s Forum, is a positive, supportive community of engaged, informed, and activated women working together to inspire, interact, influence, and have impact.