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Belgium's Leif Hoste (Katusha) had a serious crash and was forced to withdraw.
Three-time Flanders runner-up has fine reduced
Former rider Leif Hoste has been given a two-year ban for irregularities in his blood passport by the Belgian Cycling Federation (RLVB) according to reports in the Belgian media.
Hoste has denied the use of banned substances since the case was opened in January. His legal team challenged the original ruling saying that this was not indicative of doping and that "errors were made in the controls." However a drawn-out process, the RLVB confirmed the ban.
Along with the two-year ban, Hoste was given a €150,000 fine, reduced from a possible €300,000, according to Het Niewsblad. His ban was given on the basis that three blood samples, one from 2008 and two from 2010, that showed suspicious blood values.
During his 15-year career Hoste took three second places at the Tour of Flanders and won three national time trial championships. The Belgian, who rode for teams such as Mapei and Discovery Channel, announced his retirement due to back problems at the end of 2012. He can still appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).