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American Birkebeiner: Yeaton, Dyrhaug take top spots

46th running of North America's largest Nordic ski marathon featured competitors from 27 countries and 47 U.S. states.

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Niklas Dyrhaug, of Trondheim, Norway, checks the competition after crossing the finish line first in the 50-kilometer skate race at the 46th American Birkebeiner ski marathon Saturday in Hayward, Wisconsin. Paul Walsh / Special to the News Tribune

Jessica Yeaton and Niklas Dyrhaug were the top women's and men's finishers at the 46th running of the American Birkebeiner Nordic ski marathon Saturday in Hayward, Wisconsin.

In the 50-kilometer skate race, Yeaton, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, finished in 2 hours, 13.20 minutes, 41.7 seconds ahead of Riitta-Liisa Roponen, of Haukipudas, Finland. Erika Flowers, of Bozeman, Montana, was third in 2:15.00.

“It was fresh corduroy the whole way and I kept thinking to myself this is the best Nordic skiing I’ve done,” Yeaton said in a Birkebeiner release. “This win means more to me than any victory in my career. It’s just so special.”

Dyrhaug, of Trondheim, Norway, won in 1:59:01.7, just 1.6 seconds ahead of Ian Torchia, of Rochester, Minnesota. Robin Duvillard, of Chapelle-En-Vercors, France, was third in 1:59:03.7.

“I was together with a group on the lake, and I managed to take the sprint to the finish, and I’m really happy,” Dyrhaug said in a Birkebeiner release. “The finish with so many spectators is a really special moment. It was a good day.”

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In the 55-kilometer classic men's race, Peter Holmes, of Ketchum, Idaho, placed first in 2:26:46.4. Chris Pappathopoulos, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, was second in 2:38:38.8 and Evan Wetzel, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was third in 2:38:40.7.

In the women's classic race, Nicole Bathe, of Great Britain, placed first in 2:49:47.0. Anja Gruber, of Germany, was second in 2:55:20.3 and Delaney Fitzpatrick, of Minocqua, Wisconsin, was third in 3:00:38.3.

The 2020 Birkie featured competitors from 27 countries and 47 states. The 47th Birkebeiner is set for Feb. 25-27, 2021. Registration for the 2021 race begins May 1. For more information, visit www.birkie.com.

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