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    FRENCHMEN PREPARES FOR JOURNEY ACROSS LAKE BAIKAL

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    IRKUTSK, February 19, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Batalin) - Michel Giles, a French explorer, is preparing to hike across the ice on Lake Baikal (Siberia). He will begin his 635km journey on February 22 from Kultuk settlement (southern shore of the lake) and plans to reach the northernmost point of the lake, Severobaykalsk, in 12 days.

    Michel Giles, who arrived in Irkutsk on Thursday, told RIA Novosti that he would pull plastic sleighs with food and a first aid kit behind him. "I will cross the snow drifts on skis and spend the night in a tent," he said.

    Michel Giles has done long distance expeditions in Finland, Canada, Iceland and other countries.

    The present journey of courageous Frenchman will take place within the framework of the international Baikal winter games festival, "Winter 2004," which opens on February 22. Traditional competitions as well as exotic and extreme contests are planned including, off-road vehicle race, a diving-safari (scuba divers under the ice), winter volleyball and championship ice fishing.

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