Norwegian jumps to lead of famed Iditarod sled dog race

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A Norwegian musher was poised on Tuesday to acquire the Iditarod Path Sled Doggy Race and notch the third victory at any time for his home place in 46 yrs of the annual 1,000-mile (1609-km) trek across Alaska’s wilderness.

Joar Leifseth Ulsom jumped into first area of the world’s most famous sled-puppy race on Monday when he handed French native Nicolas Petit on the Bering Sea ice. Petit, who had held a cozy guide, went astray as he ventured into blowing snow and missing the trail, forcing him to backtrack.

Petit informed the Anchorage Day by day News that he was led off-system by some markers left over from the Iron Doggy snowmobile race.

By midday on Tuesday, Ulsom and Petit and their pet dogs had paused in the Inupiat Eskimo village of White Mountain, a required 8-hour relaxation halt right before the remaining dash to the end line in Nome, a coastal Gold Hurry city 77 miles (124 km)to the west.

Ulsom, who arrived 3-1/2 hrs in advance of Petit, was anticipated to return to the trail in the afternoon and arrive at the end line someday just after midnight, capping nine times of competitors.

If he prevails, Ulsom will come to be the next Norwegian to acquire the 1,000-mile Iditarod. Countryman Robert Sorlie gained two times right before – in 2003 and all over again in 2005.

From the Norwegian city of Mo i Rana, just south of the Arctic Circle, the 31-year-previous Ulsom has constructed an amazing intercontinental mushing document.

He has finished in the major 7 in all 7 of his past Iditarod races, and was the swiftest-at any time rookie in 2013. He is a two-time winner of the extensive-length Nadezhda Hope race in Russia’s Chukotka location, and gained a 2012 sprint championship in Chukotka.

Petit also brings some intercontinental aptitude to the Iditarod. The 36-year-previous contestant grew up in France’s Normandy location and moved to Alaska in 1992. He lives in the ski city of Girdwood.

Sixty-7 mushers and their pet dogs began the Iditarod in Anchorage on March 3. As of Tuesday afternoon, 6 had dropped out of contention. Most Iditarod mushers are from Alaska, but each and every year there are many Norwegians in the race.

The Iditarod finishers will split a overall $500,000 prize purse, and the first-area champion also will get a new pickup truck.

As Ulsom and Petit waited out their last Iditarod relaxation, 4-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey was in Norway, exactly where he was primary in the 1,100-kilometer (682-mile) Finnmarksløpet.

Seavey, at the centre of a puppy-doping scandal, withdrew from this year’s Iditarod. Four of his pet dogs tested good for a banned opioid just after last year’s race, but he has proclaimed his innocence and has accused Iditarod managers of botching his case. He has also recommended that he was the victim of sabotage.

Modifying by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler

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