Tour of Flanders: Katusha's Hoste rides well despite injuries from De Panne
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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tour of Flanders: Katusha's Hoste rides well despite injuries from De Panne

by Steve Jones at 6:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders, Injury
 
Should be even better for next weekend's Paris-Roubaix

Leif HosteTwo-time Ronde Van Vlaanderen runner up Leif Hoste came into today's edition of the race with the sole aim of helping teammate Filippo Pozzato to the top step of the podium.  His chances to once again be a contender in the race to try to one-up his second places literally came crashing down this past Tuesday while racing in the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde.  Hoste was forced to abandon the event and was rushed to the hospital with a smashed up mouth and a nasty gash above his eyes.

The Belgian knew his chances were compromised, but bailing out of his country's most important race is never a decision to be take lightly.  "After Tuesday I think it’s normal that I’m not 100%, but I knew that before, so...," he told VeloNation's Ben Atkins at the finish.

The extent of the damage to his front teeth from the incident earlier in the week was significant. "One and a half," he said, flashing a freshly replaced incisor and its repaired neighbor that was also broken in half.  "But also if you crash on your head it’s not so easy," he added.

Despite the obvious challenges Hoste was satisfied.  "I think so," he reflecting on whether he put in a good performance.  "But I think if you crash like this, on Tuesday," he continued, "it’s not possible I think to be on top here."

His teammate Pozzato has been criticized often for not finishing the job in major races.  Host commented on the Katusha leader's performance in the Ronde.  "I think not bad, but it’s a difficult race to control and to do everything because it was a fast race and I think everybody was [having problems]... It’s already a hot race and when it’s like this it’s even harder," he explained.

With 41 kilometers to go defending champion Fabian Cancellara made an audacious attempt to ride to the finish alone.  At that point in the race Hoste told VeloNation he didn't think it was game over:  "No, it’s not necessarily because he goes in the breakaway that the race is over, so we did everything we could do to take him back," he added.  "I did what I could before the Muur to close the gap a little bit; and then my story was over [laughs]."

Hoste finished the day in 56th place, just 4 minutes and 29 seconds behind winner Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard).  He didn't end up too far off the pace considering the circumstances, and should recover well for next week's battle over the cobblestones in Paris-Roubaix.  He has finished the Hell of the North in the top ten on several occasions, his best effort a fourth place in 2009.

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