Now aged 35, Leif Hoste's career is in doubt as he struggles with a back injury.
Hoste has enjoyed a decorated career of 15 years and has been a regular performer in the cobbled classics. Between 2004 and 2007 he finished runner-up in the Tour of Flanders three times, and has also finished in the top 10 of Paris-Roubaix twice. He's considered to be among the best riders of his generation never to have won a classic.
His 2011 season Katusha was scuttled after a career-threatening crash in the Three Days of De Panne, where he was eventually diagnosed with a tear in the membrane surrounding his brain but having recovered he joined Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's.
Hoste has not ridden since the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk when the pain "of a worn-out intervertebral disc," caused the Belgian to step off the bike.
"I'm in therapy and if that does not work, we go to a specialist in Leuven," Hoste explained. "Currently I have no idea when I can have clarity and that makes it so difficult."
Hoste's contract with Katusha should have seen him through until the end of this season but he was released and joined Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's. The veteran said that his plans for next year are very much in the balance.
"I realize that the teams no longer queue up, but there is interest, including a very nice team. But I do not want to talk until my back problems are solved."