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Youngest winner yet at Birkebeinerrittet

The 20 year-old Anders Hovdenes became the youngest elite winner of the popular Norwegian Birkebeinerrittet on Saturday. En route to victory, Hovdenes logged a new record time of 2.40.50 on the 91 km parcours from Rena to Lillehammer, where he took a two-up sprint against Lars Ragnar Manengen. Hovdenes heads next to the World Cup final in Schladming, Austria, in two weeks.

Team CSC - Saxo Bank professional Kurt Asle Arvesen, a Giro d'Italia and Tour de France stage winner, also took the start and finished 19th in the elite field. On the final descent, he climbed off his bike to be on the safe side, avoiding possibility of an injury that might interfere with his road career.

"It was to steep, simply," said a smiling Arvesen after the race which he enjoyed as a nice outing with some friends.

Finland's Pia Sundstedt won the women's race in 3.09.06, and in total, an impressive 15,047 racers finished.

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