Leif Hoste is looking forward to a pain-free year where he can again shine in the Classics with Team Accent.jobs-Verandas Willems in 2012. The Belgian signed a one-year contract with the Dutch Professional team on Wednesday morning.
Hoste, 34, turned pro in 1998, and most recently rode with Katusha. He was supposed to be the Russian team's leader in the Classics, but a serious crash in the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde put an end to those plans. He started two more races but had to end his season in early April.
He fell on his head in that crash, and ended up with more serious injuries than first thought. “I had a tear in my brain, so I lost moisture,” he said, according to sporza.be. “At one point the bike became incidental.” He continued to suffer from headaches for much of the year, but “the pain is now behind me.”
Although he still had a year on his contract with Katusha, it was apparently cancelled with agreement from both sides.
Things moved quickly once he had contact with Accent.jobs-Verandas Willems. “Some weeks ago we had the first conversation and immediately I had a very good feeling," Hoste said Wednesday, according to the Belga news agency. “There shone a certain cozy warmth from the team management. After our conversation, I immediately called my manager stating that I had found my new home. I feel 100 percent at ease here.”
"I hope I can live up to team leader status with my new team. I already have a very good eye. The spring races are my main aim and I will surely show myself. The ambition is to return to the podium of the Tour of Flanders but I also want to do well in other races. I want to show that I am certainly not written off. "
He has finished second in the Tour of Flanders three times, and won the Three Days of De Panne in 2006.