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    FRENCH TRAVELER POSTPONES BAIKAL CROSSING TILL FEBRUARY 23RD

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    IRKUTSK, February 22, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Batalin). - French traveler Michel Giles has postponed the crossing of Lake Baikal till February 23rd for technical reasons.

    Originally the start was scheduled for February 22nd.

    The Frenchman will hike across the ice on Lake Baikal from the settlement of Kultuk, the southern coast of the lake. In 12 days he hopes to reach the northernmost point, the city of Severobaikalsk, having covered 635 km.

    Earlier Michel Giles told a RIA Novosti correspondent that he would have a plastic sledge packed with food and a first-aid kit. "I will pass snow banks on skis and will spend nights in a tent," he said.

    Michel Giles has already been to long-distance expeditions in Finland, Canada, Iceland and other countries.

    His current trip is taking place within the international Baikal winter games "Zimniada 2004", which open on Sunday. The program of the games includes both traditional and exotic and extreme contests, such as 4x4 rallies, races on snowmobiles and dog-drawn sledges, diving safari (diving under the ice), winter volleyball and ice fishing championship.

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