Katusha to decide on Leif Hoste's Flanders participation on Thursday
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Katusha to decide on Leif Hoste's Flanders participation on Thursday

by Jered Gruber at 4:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Belgian classics threat's injuries from Tuesday's De Panne crash could keep him out of Flanders

The Three Days of De Panne is typically known as a crash fest each year, and in 2011, the major victim so far appears to be the resurgent Leif Hoste.

The three-time runner-up at the Ronde van Vlaanderen has had a few lean years, but appeared ready to get back to his best over the next two important weeks on the cobbles. Unfortunately, his spring campaign took a turn for the terrible with a nasty crash Tuesday afternoon in De Panne's first stage.

The result was grimace inducing: a split eyebrow, abrasions to his face, and broken teeth.

Hoste was taken to the hospital in Zottegem on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, he began the process of fixing his face.

Earlier in the day, his Katusha team spoke with Sporza about the status of a crucial cog in the team's classics squad.

"Leif is now in the stomatology department [mouth specialists] at Roeselare hospital. We'll wait and see what they say."

The team is not making any conclusions just yet, but they'll have to on Thursday.

"A few hours after his fall, Leif's morale was still good. We must wait and see how his nights go…On Thursday, we will decide on his participation in the Ronde."

Hoste and his Katusha team will hope that the healing process gets moving quickly. It will be a major disappointment if Hoste is left out of a race that he has played such an important role in on a number of occasions.

Beyond that, it will be a major blow for Katusha's main leader, Filippo Pozzato. The Italian classics specialist is back to top form, and Hoste was supposed to act as his right hand man in the crucial moments of the race.


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