TENIEL Campbell’s new cycling club – Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott – had been tracking her progress in the professional ranks since she graduated from the World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland, two years ago.
The club believes it can provide her with the professional team structure and environment which will allow her to continue to develop into a world-class athlete.
On Wednesday, the 23-year-old cyclist signed a two-year contract at Mitchelton-Scott’s service course in Italy and toured the team’s facilities. For the past year, she plied her trade with Italian-based pro women’s team Valcar Travel & Service.
In an interview with cyclingnews.com on Wednesday, club general manager Brent Copeland said, “We are extremely excited about the arrival of Teniel to Mitchelton-Scott. We have been keeping a close eye on her development since our sports director Alejandro pointed her out to us.”
Campbell started her pro career in road and track cycling at the WCC following an invitation from International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient in 2018. She joined the programme on full scholarship and also worked with now Mitchelton-Scott director Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas.
The WCC formed a women’s Continental team last year and took part in many of the UCI-registered road races on the calendar. This team served as a launching pad for riders to move up to the professional ranks.
Campbell was then offered a contract as a trainee to race for Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling near the end of her first season at the WCC in 2018. However, she returned to Switzerland for 2019 and experienced one of the best seasons of her career.
She won the overall title at the Tour de Belle Isle en Terra and secured fifth at the Nokere Koerse. Campbell also pedalled to victory in the Under-23 time trial at the Pan American Championships and then captured double silver medals in the time trial and road race at the Pan American Games later that year.
After negotiating multiple offers, she signed her first full-time contract with Valcar Travel & Service for the 2020 season where she finished third at the Vuelta CV Feminas and fifth at Omloop van het Hageland before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Teniel went through the excellent schooling of the UCI World Cycling Centre and we believe she has an enormous amount of talent. Together with our team’s professional structure and experience, we will do our utmost to take the margin of improvement we feel Teniel has to the highest of levels,” Copeland added.
He continued, “Teniel is a person who has made huge sacrifices to get to where she is and we will be giving her the support she deserves to make sure all her sacrifices have all been very much worthwhile.”
Mitchelton-Scott have already announced contract extensions for leader Amanda Spratt and Jessica Roberts, along with new signings Ane Santesteban from Ceratizit-WNT and Arianna Fidanza from Lotto Soudal Ladies. The remaining spots on the roster have not yet been announced.
“We also thank team owner Gerry Ryan who is always a big supporter of Australian talent but at the same time is encouraging us to keep the team as international as possible. Teniel fits in very well with this philosophy, we welcome Teniel to the team and we are very much looking forward to seeing her in our team colours,” Copeland said.
Campbell also spoke to cyclingnews.com and expressed elation to join the high-profile cycling club. Her selection to the Australian pro club also provides the talented rider with an opportunity to compete at the Women’s World Tour next year.
“Mitchelton-Scott has been my dream team ever since I was in the WCC, some days I have to pinch myself to believe it’s actually happening. To be given this opportunity here to continue growing and to give them the chance to help me grow and develop is really exciting because they have a lot of top-end riders.
“You can progressively see how strong they are, how they develop a lot and how well they work together as a unit. I never thought I would get to this point so quickly…to be performing so well amongst the best in Europe was really a shock to everyone because they wouldn’t expect me to fit in so quickly and already be a force to reckon with on the circuit,” she stated.
Campbell is a versatile athlete; a time trial specialist and a strong sprinter who pushes over 1,200 watts.
She has ambitions of winning a major one-day race, a world title, break world records, and win a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
With another season under her belt and the experience of racing on a World Tour team on the horizon, Campbell said she’s willing to learn and grow into the possibility of becoming a future contender in the Classics and maybe even at stage races.
“There’s still so much to discover about myself because I am so young and there’s so much to learn and improve on so you never really know (what type of rider I am). In the first year at WCC, Alejandro told me that he believed my characteristics were for the Classics, I also believe I am a Classics rider, but you never know, maybe I can be a general classification contender.
“I just want to gain so much experience and knowledge because you can have all of the power in the world but if you don’t have the experience, that team around you to really push you and help you grow, I don’t think the results will come,” she concluded. Marlen Reusser from Switzerland