Happy International Women’s Day – Teniel Campbell – In her own words

To celebrate International Women’s DayTeam BikeExchange rider Teniel Campbell wanted to find out exactly what each of her new teammates thought about one another, things that they usually may think but not directly say. In her own unique and inspiring way, Campbell set out to find out and then share with the world..

Every human being has a story and a driving force that constantly keeps them going. 

Usually most of these stories are hidden and unknown to the public and those surrounding them yet is so easy for people to judge an individual without knowing the seed that exist inside, without knowing the adversity they have had to overcome, to blossom into the individual they are today.

Sometimes people face battles caged up inside. Sometimes people do not have a voice because they are afraid of being ridiculed, judged and bullied. 

In the end all it takes is for one individual to have the courage to open up and share their story for others to follow suit. For one person to completely be themselves for others to feel comfortable being their true self. 

Stories inspire people.

It gives courage to people going through similar trials and tribulations to get back on their feet and to keep trying, to keep striving for change, to have an impact on this world, to help others to keep moving forward in life and most importantly to encourage others to keep striving to achieve their goals. 

I do not think you understand how much you inspire and motivate the person sitting right next to you. Nor do I think some of you notice how much people silently observe and admire your strengths and who you are as a person. 

It has only been a few months since I have been on Team BikeExchange. I am yet to meet all of my teammates, but I could not help but notice that each of these girls have a story behind who they are that you can easily draw so much inspiration from. 

For international women day, I came up with the idea to have my teammates write briefly about each other. I think they would all be surprised and in awe of what the other person sees in them. For sure, I did!  

Grace Brown on Sarah Roy:

“Despite what her nickname may suggest Roy is a mighty woman. She has big aspirations, and she goes all in for them. No stone is left unturned. Even when life throws tough hurdles, she remains strong in her direction and true to herself.

“Roy is a powerhouse on the bike and knows how to push herself to her absolute limit. She will do that for her teammates as readily as for herself. 

“As a friend and teammate, she is generous, kind and always up for a good chat. She has a great laugh and energy that encourages everyone to join in on her fun.”

Sarah Roy on Grace Brown:

“I’m occasionally mistaken as Grace and regard that a great compliment because she is an amazing woman. She is real. She is confident. She is confident about being confident and is unafraid to challenge the status quo. Grace is a fierce and powerful athlete but also feels very deeply for those around her. In the tough times I can always look to her for calm or crazy, which ever one is needed. I love her sense of humor and willingness to be silly every chance we get. 

“Grace has had a huge positive impact on my life and experience abroad in the short time I’ve known her. Recently we won gold and silver at the nationals together and I’ve never been so proud. I feel privileged to be surrounded and supported by Grace and her family.”

Urška Źigart on Ane Santesteban:
“The first thing that Ane Santesteban will tell you when you meet her is that her name is not Ana, Anna or anything similar to that, but A-N-E. And don’t worry, she will definitely tell you when you say it wrong. 

 “She is fierce, and she knows exactly what she wants and with her determination she will do everything in her power to get it. She is very passionate about the things she loves and by nature a competitive person, which is a winning combination on the bike. This is one side of her, the other is the fact that she is like a ray of sunshine. She always lights up the room with her smile and cheerful presence and for sure she will make you laugh even if you are not in the mood. 10/10 recommend for a roomie.”

Ane Santesteban on Urška Źigart:
“Honestly, I didn’t know Urškabefore the training camp in Oliva in January, but we spoke a lot and from the beginning I realized how strong, powerful woman and a inspiration she is.

“I have some examples in my memory but the most I have in my mind, maybe because I have a similar one in my life. Having a really hard news during the world championships last year in Imola, even if in the beginning was hard, she continued fighting for her dreams and I am sure this year she will be stronger than what she was before. And for me this is an example of an empowered woman, she chose the way of her life and fight for her dreams without being scared.”

Lucy Kennedy on Georgia Williams:

“Georgia is fearsomely dedicated and yet completely selfless in her quest to be the best cyclist and teammate. Not only has she battled and overcome major health issues to be back to her incredibly strong self, but has done it publicly and in doing so, directly helped other cyclists going through similar problems.”

Georgia Williams on Lucy Kennedy:

“I’ve had the privilege to be teammates with Lucy the past three years. We’ve had some great times on and off the bike. Her professional career started off a bit rough with a few bad crashes. The way she picked herself up each time and worked so hard on her recovery to come back stronger each time was really inspiring. 

“She’s one of the most determined and hard-working people I know. If she has a goal there’s nothing stopping her. If I ever need wise advice or help with something, I know I can always turn to Lucy.”

Amanda Spratt on Jess Allen and Jess Roberts:

“I have so much admiration for “Jallen” (Jess Allen). She has a way to make everyone feel welcome and you can’t help but smile when in her presence. Underneath that is a strength, commitment and determination that inspires me to be a better version of myself every day. I have so many great memories with Jess and to this day she is still the only person who has convinced me to sing karaoke in front of a crowd.”

“I’ve only known Robbo (Jess Roberts) for a little over a year, but one thing stands out is that she is tough! Quietly determined, focused and eyes on the prize. If something is hard you won’t hear any complaints and, in her personality, you see an urge to constantly improve and be better every day.”

Jess Allen on Jess Roberts and Amanda Spratt:   

“Young, Welsh and a bit shy, I’m sure it was a little daunting coming into an Aussie cultured team last year, but Robbo (Jess Roberts) has slotted into Team BikeExchange perfectly. She is tough, driven, eager to learn from us and gets stronger and more confident every race she does. 

“Robbo is kindhearted, appreciative and a true family girl. One thing I really admire about Robbo is how much time she puts aside to speak to her family, friends and loved ones. Staying in contact with the ones who support you most and who have helped you become the person you are today is often overlooked but Robbo always remembers where she’s come from and that’s a special characteristic to have.”

“Spratty (Amanda Spratt) is not just a leader for Team BikeExchange but is also a friend and someone who the whole peloton respects, admires and looks up to. She is one of the most selfless teammates you’ll ever have, and I know I can always trust her and call on her for advice.

“One of my best memories on the bike is riding for Spratty at the 2019 World Championship in Yorkshire. I had tears in my eyes watching her cross the finish line to take the bronze medal and seeing the emotions on her face when she’d realized what she’d done still gives me goosebumps. Her resilience, determination and humble, down to earth attitude is a true credit to her and is the reason why she’s one of the best cyclists in the world and why everyone would want her as a teammate.”

Jess Roberts on Jess Allen and Amanda Spratt:

“When I first joined the team the main thing, I noticed about the Aussies is just how friendly they are. Spratty and Jess both made me feel so at home in the team so that was really nice. They are both so supportive and always there to help if you need them, perking you up on down days and just always making you laugh. They also both have so much experience in the pro peloton so I’m always learning things from them and they are two people I look up to.”

Janneke Ensing on Moniek Tenniglo:

“Moniek is a nice spontaneous girl, she is always there for everyone, which make her forget herself sometimes, during the races it is a golden card, she can be in the lead for so long. I have never seen such a super servant before. Moniek disappears completely.”

Moniek Tenniglo on Janneke Ensing:

“Janneke is an energetic all-rounder with a grateful, spontaneous, interested, honest and strongminded character who loves to discover new places & people.

“On the bike she is weaponed with a big engine and powerful climbing legs. Off the bike she is a top ice-skater, passionate kitchen princess and family person. She is living the life she loves.”

Teniel Campbell on Arianna Fidanza:

“A long history of cycling runs through her veins. I actually never knew she was junior World champion on the track in the points race. Last year when I was living in Bottanuco, Italy we bumped into each other quite a few times and now here we are on the same team wanting to help and see each other excel.  

We recently had lots of laughs and suffer sessions at our training camp in Girona, Spain. However, in the short space of time of getting to know her more I can see that she to is fearful, lacks a bit of belief and confidence in her abilities but she is soooooo strong. 

“Her heart’s desire is to win a Classics race and to follow in the footsteps of her father to be a top-class sprinter, which I’m pretty sure she will one day! I invited her to my apartment in Girona for dinner at team camp. A very grand meal of avocado, egg, toast for dinner while getting to know each other some more but I am not sure it was an impressive meal for an Italian, I should have gone for chicken Alfredo. In the future we made a vow to improve!”

Ariana Fidanza on Teniel Campbell:

“Strong woman” Teniel is one of my new teammates. I met her some years ago and I knew her better after a few races last year. We also had some trainings together last year when she was in Bergamo. Destiny wanted us to meet again, this time in the team together. 

“We’ve already shared some good fun moments. In my opinion she’s a strong woman, because she left her home country to follow the dreams. It’s been a long time since she’s away from her family, she continues in her way with courage. 

“I remember her words when I was in her home in Girona: “you need motivation and you’ve to be strong when you’ve been away from home for a long time”. These words struck me and gave me strength, I understand that she has a lot of power inside. 

“I think she’s should be an example for many people. 

Stay strong and follow your dreams!”

Photos courtesy of Getty Images/Con Chronis