European mushers, Alaskan battling for Iditarod lead

In this Thursday, March 7, 2019 photo, Joar Leifseth Ulsom departs the Ghost Town, checkpoint of Iditarod, Alaska, during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
In this Thursday, March 7, 2019 photo, a dog from musher Cindy Gallea's team rests in Takotna, Alaska, during the Iditarod Trail Sled dog Race. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
A dog in Travis Beals' team leaps after arriving in Shageluk, Alaska, during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Friday, March 8, 2019. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two men living in Alaska but with European ties and a Fairbanks musher are battling for the lead in this year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Race leaders Nicolas Petit, a native of France, Norwegian Joar Uslom and Alaskan Jessie Royer are all at the checkpoint in Grayling, about 530 miles (853 kilometers) into the nearly 1,000-mile (1,600 kilometer) race.

All mushers must take a mandatory eight-hour rest at a checkpoint along the Yukon River. The race leader board indicates Ulsom has already taken his break, but Petit and Royer have not.

Petit won $3,500 and a five-course gourmet meal prepared by a chef flown in from Anchorage earlier Friday for being the first musher to reach the Yukon.

The race will end sometime next week in Nome.

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