Cynisca Cycling (opens in new tab), a France-based, American pro women’s cycling team (opens in new tab), today confirmed it has parted ways with its board member Inga Thompson, a celebrated three-time Olympian and vocal anti-trans advocate associated with the Save Women’s Sport organization.
“Inga Thompson is no longer a member of the Cynisca board of directors and will have no consulting or any other role with Cynisca,” the team announced in a statement.
“The association with Ms. Thompson has affected Cynisca’s brand and reputation.”
Cynisca Cycling was formed ahead of the 2023 season by businessman Jeff Jones and sports marketing professional Chris Gutowsky in partnership with USA Cycling.
With a focus on developing the stars of tomorrow, the roster is mostly made up of American riders under the age of 25 and directed by American-French cyclist Marion Clignet. Former U.S. national road race champion, Robin Farina, acts as operations manager.
Thompson was invited to serve on the team’s board of directors earlier this year due to her “impressive palmarés and a wealth of knowledge on international race strategy, tactics and training,” the team says.
A U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame inductee, Thompson is a five-time U.S. national road race champion, a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic team, a Tour de France féminin podium finisher, and a three-time silver medalist at the UCI World Road Championships.
In recent years, Thompson has also become one of the loudest voices in the anti-transgender inclusion movement, advocating for the banning of transgender athletes in women’s categories.
“If shared in the absence of politics, her knowledge and experience would benefit many and advance cycling for everyone. However, she has decided to dedicate her time to excluding people that 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,” Cynisca states.
The development team states that because of the association with Thompson, the team lost out on media exposure as “respected cycling journalists refused to cover the team” while “qualified and competent people have declined job offers out of fear of crossing or appearing to align themselves with her.”
The team’s statement further revealed that Thompson attempted to intimidate several Cynisca staff members.
“Ms. Thompson’s departure resolves a troubling conflict of interest. Cynisca is an apolitical organization, and her campaign and methods, by charter, UCI Code of Ethics, U.S. law and decency, are not and will never be Cynisca’s mission,” the team states.
“To be clear, Ms. Thompson is entitled to her opinions and advocacy, but her methods and personal attacks are inconsistent with Cynisca’s mission to advance opportunities for women. Those methods, well-documented on Ms. Thompson’s social media presence, include dehumanization of transgender people, spreading misinformation, demagoguery, and personal attacks on anyone who opposes her views.”
“Our mission has been and always will be that of advancing women at all levels of cycling and doing so in a framework of equality, fairness, and tolerance. Despite the negativity fostered by Ms. Thompson, we are succeeding and will push forward faster without her.”