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Hoste to miss Nokere Koerse

Leif Hoste will miss today's Nokere Koerse after complaining of continued back pain following a training ride on Monday. A fall in Tirreno-Adriatico has proven troublesome for the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider and his squad will therefore compete with seven members in Nokere.

According to Belgian news agency Belga, Hoste will postpone his planned comeback to Dwars door Vlaanderen on March 24 despite indications prior to Monday that suggested the Classics star was on the mend.

"It appeared as though it was improving, but eventually Leif Hoste experienced more pain in his back after a training ride on Monday," said Omega Pharma directeur sportif Hendrik Redant.

"It is better to keep him out of some races and certainly don't force [a return]," added Redant. Dwars door Vlaanderen will probably be his first competition after his retirement in Tirreno-Adriatico.

"We must race in Nokere with seven riders because it was too short a time frame to call anyone else [to ride], " he explained.

Meanwhile, defending champion Graeme Brown (Rabobank) will return to the Nokere Koerse in an attempt to make it two successive victories. The Australian began his season at January's Bay Classics before heading to the Tour Down Under and then returning to European competition.

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