Fact Check-Photo of transgender women on winner's podium was taken at race with categories specifically inclusive of transgender and non-binary people

Users online have shared an image of three individuals standing on a podium with claims that the two transgender women who came first and second “cheated” to secure their positions in a female race. The posts omit that the image was taken at an independent cycling race with categories specifically inclusive of transgender and non-binary people.

Some users shared the image of the two transgender women standing in first and second place, with a woman holding her baby standing in third place with captions suggesting that the transgender participants had cheated.

One user who shared the image on Twitter said: “Two men kiss as they celebrate stealing 1st & 2rd place in a womens [sic] race...woman takes care of her child as she stands on the 3rd place she has been relegated to due to male cheats.” The tweet gathered more than 36,000 likes at the time of writing and an archived version of the post can be seen (

Other examples of the claim shared on social media can be found (here), (here), (here).

The posts are lacking in context, however. The photograph showed the winners of the ThunderCrit “Lightning Category” race, organised by the North London ThunderCats Black Metal Bicycle Club (here).

The “Lightning Category” race is open to cis-women as well as “non-binary people whose physical performance aligns with cis-women” and “trans men and women whose physical performance aligns most closely with cis-women” (here).

Meanwhile, the “Thunder Category” race is designated to those who are cis-male, “non-binary people whose physical performance aligns most with cis-men" and “trans men and women whose physical performance aligns most closely with cis-men" (here).

In a statement released on June 4, 2022, via the Thundercrit website, organizers said that a decision was made in 2021 to create “a more gender neutral [sic] categorisation system that allowed trans and gender-noncomforming athletes, who often feel that there is no safe space for them in the sport, to be embraced and made to feel welcome.”

“Since these new categories were introduced we have had many trans and gender-noncomforming entrants in both our Thunder and Lightning categories, who have competed well within their respective categories. The format will continue to evolve in a way that delivers inclusivity and fair racing for all athletes,” the statement read.

A spokesperson for Herne Hill Velodrome, the venue where the race was held, told Reuters: “The event was well run and positively received by riders on the day, as has the club’s gender-neutral categorisation system since it was put in place last year. It was great to see a diverse mix of racers, many who raced for the first time ever, supporting each other and cheered on by a huge crowd who celebrated everyone whether they stepped on the podium or not.”

The contestant who placed third and was seen in the photo holding a child said on Twitter: “Thanks for your concern, but I am delighted with my podium, super proud to be part of the team that organizes such an inclusive and exciting event, and proud to race with such awesome competitors” (here).


Missing context. An image circulating online does not show two transgender women “stealing” victory in a female-only race. The ThunderCrit “Lightning category” race is specifically open to cis-women as well as transgender women and men “whose physical performance aligns most closely with cis-women.”

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.