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Hoste heads back to Lotto

Leif Hoste — the three-time runner-up at the Tour of Flanders — is set to return to a Belgian team.

The Belgian daily Gazet van Antwerpen reported that Hoste, 34, will leave Katusha despite having another year remaining on his contract and rejoin his longtime home with Lotto-Belisol for 2012.

Hoste (center) with Tyler Farrar and Sérgio Paulinho in a breakaway in 2010. | Graham Watson photo

Hoste’s best results came when he was with the Belgian outfit and will be hoping to get back to his top form next season.

The veteran classics strongman went winless in 2011 in his first season with Katusha and suffered a heavy crash at the Three Days of De Panne. Though he raced Flanders and Roubaix (56th and DNF, respectively), he didn’t race for the remainder of the season.

Hoste was second at Flanders in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and won the Belgian time trial championship three times.

Hoste’s return will bolster the team’s classics program following the departure of Philippe Gilbert to BMC for 2012.

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