First transgender cycling world champion hits back as Katie Hopkins and Ricky Gervais join debate over whether she has unfair advantage

CYCLING'S first transgender world champion has hit back at social media trolls after Katie Hopkins and Ricky Gervais stirred the Twitter pot.

Canadian rider and philosophy professor Dr Rachel McKinnon claimed her world title in the women's UCI Masters Track Cycling 35-44m sprint final with a time of 12.903 seconds in Los Angeles earlier this week.

 Rachel McKinnon (middle) became the first openly transgender world title winner in any sport

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Rachel McKinnon (middle) became the first openly transgender world title winner in any sport
 But McKinnon, left, has received criticism after one rider accused her of having an unfair advantage

INSTAGRAM/RACHEL MCKINNON
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But McKinnon, left, has received criticism after one rider accused her of having an unfair advantage

McKinnon, born a biological male, beat Holland's Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen and America's Jennifer Wagner to become the the first openly transgender athlete to win a world championship in any sport.

McKinnon claims silver medallist Van Herrikhuyzen embraced her after the victory and said the Dutch athlete openly supported the result.

But it was bronze medallist Wagner who sparked the criticism after responding to Hopkins' initial dig on Twitter.

Hopkins wrote: "For clarity – this was the WOMEN'S world championships. I repeat. Women’s. Congratulations to the brave faces of silver & bronze. The world is gripped by a febrile madness."

 TV personality Katie Hopkins labelled it "madness" in a Twitter post

Dan Charity – The Sun
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TV personality Katie Hopkins labelled it "madness" in a Twitter post

 Ricky Gervais also joined the debate, and claimed other riders will have to up their game to beat her

Getty – Contributor
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Ricky Gervais also joined the debate, and claimed other riders will have to up their game to beat her

Wagner agreed with the controversial TV personality, replying: "I was the 3rd place rider. It’s definitely NOT fair."

Comedian Gervais also got involved in the debate, and tweeted: "Yeah, she’s done well there. I’m sure all the women she beat will try even harder next year."

But McKinnon hit back, suggesting there is no physical evidence that she has an advantage over competing female cyclists.

She also claims that policing the testosterone levels in her body would be a violation of her human rights.

McKinnon said: "I think there is absolutely no evidence that I have an unfair advantage.

"People who oppose transgender inclusion in sport put us in the double bind. It’s the 'damned if you do, damned if you don’t' scenario.

"If I win, they attribute it to me being trans and having an unfair advantage. If I lose, the same people think I must not be good anyway. People will never attribute my winning to hard work which is what I think I deserve."

She added: "We cannot have a woman legally recognised as a trans woman in society, and not be recognised that way in sports.

"Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics.

"We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead."

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CYCLING'S first transgender world champion has hit back at social media trolls after Katie Hopkins and Ricky Gervais stirred the Twitter pot.