Sunday, July 8, 2007

Gay Wheels

the crowds at the prologue of the Tour de France in Hyde Park - 06 June 2007Le Tour de France is in London Town this week-end. Throngs of people are taking advantage of the blocked off streets in the centre of town and even the sun has decided to put in a appearance.

This is as good an opportunity as any to take a look at cycling from a gay perspective.

The world of sports is regretably notorious for its latent (and sometimes overt) homophobia, which prevents athletes from being out and proud. Cycling is no exception to this it seems. There does not appear to be any out male competitors although well informed rumours abound. Women seem to be faring marginally better with a few high profile women visibly wearing the rainbow jersey.

Below is a short list of some of these pioneers compiled thanks to Outsports and their list of out athletes.

Judith Arndt
In 2004 she won the World Road Race Championship and the Olympic Silver Medal in the road race. She is a member of the T-Mobile women team.
She is partnered to Petra Rossner, herself a former professional cyclist.

Michelle Dumaresque
Mountain Biking
Michelle Dumaresque is a transgendered (male to female) mountain bike racer whose provincial downhil mountain biking race license was taken away from her when Cycling British Columbia found out she was not born a woman. Michelle took the case to the international level: the UCI (International Cycling Union - based in Switzerland). The UCI told her that she was allowed to race the downhill professionally, in the women's category.

Missy Giove
Mountain Biking
An out and proud lesbian, Giove, 28, has been called the Michael Jordan of her sport and has won world mountain biking championships. She also has competed on ESPN's X-games. She is a a long term relationship Kristen Wilson.

Nicole LaViolette
LaViolette, an accomplished competitive cyclist, is an assistant professor of law at the University of Ottawa.

Ilana Lobet
An acomplished cyclist, Lobet was featured as part of a gay and lesbian team in the ECO Challenge endurance event in Fiji.

Andrea Ratkovic
Nicknamed "The Rat," Ratkovic excels in the duathalon, which incorporates running and cycling.
Andrea's website
Andrea's competitive website

Useful Links:
* CycleOut
* Dykes on Bikes
* Gay Cycling Touring Group
* Gay Cycling and Tours

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