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VN ticker: Lance Armstrong dips toe into leading Zwift ride, Daniele Bennati named Italian coach

Here's the news making the headlines on Tuesday, November 2.

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Lance Armstrong dips toe into leading Zwift ride

Lance Armstrong is dipping his toe into the Zwift universe.

At noon EDT, Wednesday, November 3, the 50-year-old former pro cyclist will lead a 60-minute ride in the virtual cycling environment.

Taking on Watopia’s Flat Route Reverse loop, he’ll move the pace along at a modest 2.5-3.1 watts/kilogram.

You can register for the WEDÜ Wednesday ride on the Zwift website, or through the Zwift Companion app.

A Discord channel will be open for all participants — of which there are already nearly 700 as of 3 p.m. eastern, Tuesday — to chat and stay connected with each other.

All those who complete the ride will unlock the WEDÜ kit.

Armstrong is relatively new to Zwift, having only completed a total of 144km — of which 133km have been in the previous 30 days — in the virtual cycling environment.

Daniele Bennati named Italian coach

Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati was named head coach of the Italian team. He replaces Davide Cassani, who was in the position since 2014.

“I do not hide that I have always aspired to become technical commissioner of the Italian team, it’s a great pride,” said Bennati, 41, in a statement issued by the Italian Cycling Federation.

“The role of technical commissar is of great responsibility because although we have achieved a lot of results in recent years, we haven’t won the (men’s) world championship for too long. I don’t have a magic wand, but I’ll do my best to fill this lack,” Bennati said.

Bennati retired from the pro ranks in 2019, following a 17-year career as a professional cyclist.

He won two stages of the 2007 Tour de France, including stage 21 on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, as well as three stages at the Vuelta a España en route to earning top honors in the points classification. In 2008, Bennati won three stages and the maglia ciclamino at the Giro d’Italia.

RideLondon to resume in 2022

The RideLondon Women’s WorldTour race will be back in 2022.

The three-day stage race, which was on hold in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, is slated for May 27-29, 2022. A men’s WorldTour event is not on the calendar for RideLondon.

While Surrey will no longer be part of the route, the Essex city council has approved a route through the county for two of the stages.

Non-pro, sportive events are planned around the weekend, including the newly added RideLondon-Essex 100. Entries for this event open on Wednesday, November 10. Initially, just 10,000 entries will be made available for £89/$121.

“RideLondon has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to cycle more and to date, it has raised an incredible £80 million for charities,” said event director of RideLondon Hugh Brasher. “We are proud of all it has achieved and excited about our plans for 2022 onwards, which offer unique opportunities for our commercial partners.”

“We look forward to working with our partners at Essex County Council and numerous London boroughs to create a truly extraordinary celebration of cycling,” Brasher added.

The mayor of London helped create the inaugural RideLondon in 2013, as a legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Eli Iserbyt dominates Koppenbergcross

Eli Iserbyt won the 2021 Koppenbergcross a day after he won the UCI Cyck=locross World Cup Overisje. (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) took his third straight victory at the Koppenbergcross in emphatic fashion Monday. The Belgian rider mastered the thick, muddy conditions and the formidable Koppenberg climb that gives the event its name.

Iserbyt crossed the line with a clear 23-second margin over Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) with Lars van der Haar finishing 1:18 back to claim third place. The win is Iserbyt’s eighth of the season and sets him up nicely ahead of his European championships title defense in Drenthe later this week.

“It was very good, I was immediately in my rhythm. It went perfectly, it was a very good day for me,” Iserbyt told Sporza. “I didn’t expect to have such a good day, because I felt it from Overijse [on October 31].

“I tried to ride clear, especially on the cobblestones I was better than Toon, so I made the gap there as well. It was important to stay alert and drive on.”

Giro d’Italia to roll out route details next week

Rather than have one big show to announce the 2022 Giro d’Italia, organizers will roll out route details during the course of a few days.

Giro officials will reveal the opening stages of the “big start” in Budapest and two more road stages during a presentation Wednesday.

After that, officials will confirm stages by categories. All sprint stages will be revealed November 8, with the hilly stages coming the next day, and the mountain stages on November 10.

The “grand finale” will be unveiled November 11 alongside the entire route, officials confirmed Tuesday.

More BikeExchange signings for men’s and women’s squads

After a slow start to the transfer window, BikeExchange has made a flurry of signings in recent weeks for both its men’s and women’s teams.

Dutch all-rounder, and sprint classification winner at the Women’s Tour, Nina Kessler is the latest new addition to the women’s squad after she penned a two-year contract. Meanwhile, U23 Vuelta a Colombia winner Jesús David Peña signed a two-year deal with the men’s program.

“As a teammate, I want to share my experiences on and off the bike, which will hopefully be beneficial for the younger riders,” Kessler said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know my new teammates and making plans with them and the staff for the new season so that we can make it a great successful ride together.”

“I am so excited; I am going to join a WorldTour team which has always been my dream. Doing it with GreenEDGE Cycling, which I have always followed, it makes it even more special. When the opportunity was presented to me, I didn’t hesitate a second and I took it straight away,” Peña said.

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