Yukon Quest 2016: Hugh Neff takes over lead as Brent Sass struggles
Tony Angelo forced to withdraw 'to ensure the best interest of the driver and his dogs'
The Yukon Quest has a new leader in veteran Hugh Neff as the top tier of mushers prepare for the race's home stretch into Whitehorse.
Brent Sass, who dominated the first half of the race from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Dawson City, fell back to third place after breaking his sled handle. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that Sass had been suffering from a stomach bug and sore throat.
Two-time winner Allen Moore was in second place after the Carmacks checkpoint, more than 90 minutes behind Neff. Matt Hall remains in fourth place, although he has drawn closer to the race leaders.
As of Sunday morning, the four front-runners had left Carmacks on their way to the next checkpoint at Braeburn.
Yukon's Ed Hopkins remains in fifth place but has fallen back from the lead group.
The rest of the field is currently strung out between Dawson City and Pelly Crossing. Yukoner Gaetan Pierrard, running in his first Yukon Quest, was the last to leave Dawson after a mandatory 36-hour layover.
Meanwhile, race officials have forced last-place musher Tony Angelo to withdraw from the race after arriving in Dawson City.
"This decision has been made by the race marshal to ensure the best interest of the driver and his dogs," race officials said in a statement.
Organizers said the decision "does not imply any deliberate misconduct or rule violation."