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American Birkebeiner: A congested race throughout -- except at the very top

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HAYWARD, Wis. -- Few races in the history of the American Birkebeiner have been as congested as Saturday's 35th running of the cross-country ski marathon from Cable to Hayward.

In fact, no other Birkie may have had as many front-runners so late in the race.

Russian native Ivan Babikov was among a group of about 20 men at the front when he finally broke free on an uphill portion of the course about 6 kilometers from the finish.

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