OLYMPIC-BOUND Teniel Campbell is TT’s only female cyclist to ever compete on a pro Women’s World Tour calendar event – Giro Rosa.
After completing six of the nine rigorous stages throughout the hilly streets of southern Italy, on Wednesday, the Valcar Travel & Service rider bowed out of the remaining three stages after finishing outside the required time limit.
Altogether, the 22-year-old covered a laborious distance of over 650km and always proved to be a competitive threat during the tour. However, after stage six, Campbell’s legs grew weary after consecutive days of arduous riding.
After Wednesday’s challenging performance, Campbell admitted she had been all pedalled out of power. Although a bit disappointed to record an early exit, she was pleased with her overall performance.
One week before the Giro Rosa, Campbell competed at the seventh La Course by Le Tour de France.
“I came to the Giro Rosa nervous. I did not know what to expect or if I was ready for the fast and technical descending. In a long demanding stage race like this, I knew I couldn’t waste that energy like I did at La Course otherwise I would pay the price for it early. Fortunately, all went well and I actually regained some confidence in the process,” said the Italian-based sprinter.
Before the opening stage rode off on September 11, the talented cyclist set individual goals to produce podium performances in three Giro Rosa stages. But with her team’s focus to capture the “young jersey”, Campbell opted to sideline her individual goals and stick to the club’s competitive plan.
“My goal was to win three stages or at least perform well on those three specific stages. It so happened that luck was not on my side for those exact three stages. Plus with the team focus to win the young jersey, I did not want to be a selfish rider and conserve energy to attain the results I knew I could have,” she added.
Since Campbell’s introduction to the European circuit, her competitive drive has gained the respect of her Valcar Travel & Service team-mates and other formidable opponents. Campbell, a trained road sprinter, continues to pedal on, learning and adapting to the many challenges of rough European pro competition.
“I think this is why so many riders respect me and probably wonder, ‘how the heck does she have so much energy?’ or ‘why is she not going for the sprints?’ I would think the same if I saw one rider doing what I was doing. The important thing for me is that each day I tried something new as well as followed team orders,” she continued.
On her performance at Giro Rosa 2020, Campbell emerged an improved cyclist.
She concluded, “However, I am pretty sure after leaving the Giro I gained lots of respect from several riders and teams which is both a good and bad thing.
“Bad in the sense that now you are a well-known threat for the podium so they would not let you escape easily. But I actually really enjoyed it, I had lots of fun suffering and I also enjoyed my domestic duties.”
The Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile (Giro Rosa) is one of only two stage races remaining on the Women’s World Tour’s revised late-season calendar which was created after racing was halted due to the covid19 pandemic.
It is one of the most important events on the calendar as the only women’s Grand Tour, now held from September 11-19. The long-running event traditionally offers a challenging route that utilises some of the most iconic mountain passes throughout Italy – the Stelvio, Mortirolo and Gavia – along with punchy stages and sprint finishes that all cater to the most riveting bike racing.