There will be a new men's champion in the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race, set for Saturday on the Auto Race in Pinkham Notch.

Joe Gray, the four-time and defending champ, is not entered, which leaves a wide-open field for the 59th annual event. The race, which is 7.6 miles -- all uphill -- starts at 9 a.m.

Among the contenders is Italian mountain-runner Nadir Cavagna, who is entered in the race for the first time. Americans Lee Berube and Matt Lipsey, and two former champs, Eric Blake and Simon Gutierrez, are also considered front-runners.

The women's favorite, Kim Dobson, 35, of Eagle, Colo., has won the race each of the five times she has entered: 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Her 2012 winning time of one hour, nine minutes and 25 seconds is the American women's record for the course and the second-fastest time by any woman on the Auto Road.

The field behind Dobson is strong and includes former Hanover High and Brown University star runner Heidi Caldwell, 27, the runner-up last year.