A woman who took third place in a Chicago cycling competition is lashing out at those who accuse the two male-born transgender opponents who beat her of cheating.

Kristen Chalmers, who took third place in the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships in the women’s single speed division last week, was beaten by a pair of transgender cyclists who have been racing as a team and taking one title after another from their natural-born female opponents.

The first- and second-place winners, Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson, have won dozens of titles on the Chicago cycling circuit over the last several years.

Their long string of wins has brought an avalanche of criticism down upon the Chicago CrossCup organization that has fully and militantly embraced the two male-born racers and has allowed them to compete as women. Criticism has also been thick against Johnson and Williamson, both of whom have been accused of cheating by pitting their male bodies against female opponents.

For instance, tennis great Martina Navratilova blasted the transgender racers, writing, “More mediocre male bodies taking podium places from female athletes. And it stinks!!!!”

But third place Chalmers is now striking back and calling the criticism “ridiculous,” according to NBC News.

“It would be ridiculous to say that my life has been ruined by getting third,” Chalmers said in an open letter. “I had a great race, and it would have been more boring if it had been a smaller field without such strong competitors in it.”

Chalmers added that she and the Chicago cycling community are “steadfast in their support” of Johnson and Williamson.”

“We refuse to be falsely presented as victims in a manufactured controversy driven to further alienate and marginalize those most vulnerable within our community, in service of rampant and harmful anti-LGBTQ+ legislation,” Chalmers continued. “We speak for ourselves: inclusion makes our sport and community stronger. Everyone is welcome here. Trans women are women.”

Chalmers also says that her letter is co-signed by many “cisgender” women in the Chicago cycling organization.

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