- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Nicolas Petit has taken the early lead in the 2016 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Petit is the first musher in to Nikolai. He reached the village at 8:41 a.m. Tuesday, passing four-time champion and previous leader Lance Mackey.

Mackey left the Rohn checkpoint just before 7 p.m. Monday.

Reigning champ and three-time winner Dallas Seavey left Rohn an hour and eight minutes after Mackey at 7:44 p.m.

Aliy Zirkle (AL’-ee ZUR’-kul), Mitch Seavey and Paul Gebhardt followed Seavey.

Tuesday is the third day of the 1,000-mile race to Nome.

The competitive portion of the race with 85 teams began Sunday in Willow.

The winner is expected to reach the finish line about nine days after the start of the race.

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