Star line-up for London 06

Star line-up for London Marathon '06
By Reuters

13/12/2005 at 15:30Updated

World champion Jaouad Gharib and Olympic champion Stefano Baldini will head one of the strongest ever London marathons on April 23. Last year's winner, Kenyan Martin Lel, compatriots Evans Rutto, who won in 2004, and Felix Limo, first across the line in C

Khalid Khannouchi is another former winner to join the elite field. The American broke his own world record on the way to victory in 2002.

"I am certain this is the strongest men's field we have ever seen in London," race director Dave Bedford said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It will be a bookie's nightmare. This race will go down as a true classic," he added.

World record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya and South Africa's Hendrick Ramaala are also confirmed for the race, with Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, the twice Olympic and four-times world champion, also taking part.

Tergat beat Ramaala in a thrilling battle in the New York City marathon last month, the closest finish in the race's 36-year history.

Morocco's Gharib became only the second athlete to retain the marathon title at the world championships in Helsinki in August.