ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Iditarod is shaping up to be a three-man race as mushers hug the frozen Bering Sea coast as they head for Nome.
Three mushers have left the checkpoint of Shaktoolik and are heading up the western coast to Koyuk, which is about 170 miles (274 kilometers) from the finish line.
In the lead is France native Nic Petit, who left Shaktoolik early Monday morning about 2 ½ hours ahead of defending champion Mitch Seavey.
Norwegian musher Joar Ulsom left Shaktoolik about an hour after Seavey.
The winner of the nearly thousand-mile (1,610-kilometer) race across Alaska is expected in Nome in the next few days.
Sixty-seven mushers started the race March 4 in Willow.
Since then, five have quit the race including Ryan Redington, who scratched Sunday night in Kaltag.