Friday 18 August 2017

'I've known I was different since I was five' - Legendary British Tour de France cyclist reveals gender transition

Robert Millar from United Kingdom, wearing the red and white Polka Dot Jersey of the best climber, is pictured 18 July 1984 at the end of 19st stage between La Plagne and Morzine during the 71th Tour de France. Millar finished 4th in overall standing 22 July 1984 in Paris. AFP PHOTO
Robert Millar from United Kingdom, wearing the red and white Polka Dot Jersey of the best climber, is pictured 18 July 1984 at the end of 19st stage between La Plagne and Morzine during the 71th Tour de France. Millar finished 4th in overall standing 22 July 1984 in Paris. AFP PHOTO

Press Association

One of Britain's most successful cyclists has publicly disclosed a change in gender.

Philippa York made a statement on cyclingnews.com on Thursday night, disclosing her former identity as Robert Millar, the 1984 King of the Mountains at the Tour de France.

Millar, until the overall Tour wins of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, had the highest finish of a Briton in the race, finishing fourth 33 years ago.

She has previously written on cycling as Millar, but now York will write as herself and appear on ITV4's coverage of the Tour.

She wrote on cyclingnews.com: "As much as I've guarded my privacy over the years there are a few, I believe obvious, reasons to why I haven't had a public 'image' since I transitioned.

"Gratifyingly, times have moved on from 10 years ago when my family, friends and I were subjected to the archaic views and prejudice that some people and certain sections of the tabloid media held.

"Thankfully gender issues are no longer a subject of such ignorance and intolerance, there's a much better acceptance and understanding.

"I really am delighted to have accepted this new challenge with ITV4; I'm looking forward to the racing immensely and in terms of my personal and professional development I think this is the right time to return to a more active role in cycling too - the sport I've always loved."

Millar, who was born in Glasgow in September 1958, won three stages of the Tour and finished second in the 1985 and 1986 Vuelta a Espana and the 1987 Giro d'Italia, won by Stephen Roche.

York added in The Guardian: "I've known I was different since I was five years old, [but] what that difference was and how to deal with it has taken a fairly long time to come to terms with. All I will say is it hasn't been an overnight process.

"Sport has generally lagged behind in its attitudes to anything other than the heterosexual norm. In that context cycling has been one of the sports most resistant to change.

"It'll catch up eventually."

ITV announced York would be joining the commentary team from July 13 for three days, stages 12 to 14.

Press Association

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