French, Norwegian mushers battling for Iditarod lead

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two men living in Alaska but with European ties continue to run neck-and-neck Saturday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Norwegian musher and defending champion Joar Ulsom was the first musher to reach the checkpoint in Eagle Island, about 592 miles (953 kilometers) into the 1,000 mile (1609 kilometer) race across the Alaska wilderness.

While Ulsom rested at the Yukon River checkpoint, Frenchman Nicolas Petit breezed into Eagle Island about 40 minutes after Ulsom, but only stayed eight minutes to reclaim the lead.

Also into the checkpoint is Alaska musher Pete Kaiser. Every musher must take an eight-hour break at a checkpoint somewhere along the Yukon River. Petit and Ulsom have already taken that mandatory rest, but Kaiser has not.

The winner is expected mid-week at the finish line in Nome.

BAssociated Press