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Alinghi picks Prada for quarterfinal

Alinghi's decision sets the two U.S. syndicates head to head in the quarterfinals
Alinghi's decision sets the two U.S. syndicates head to head in the quarterfinals

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Can Prada beat the top-ranked Alinghi?


AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Top-ranked Swiss team Alinghi has chosen to race Louis Vuitton Cup defender Prada in the series quarterfinals, leaving American rivals Oracle BMW Racing and OneWorld to square off.

Alinghi won the right to choose their rival after coming top of the leaderboard after two round robins.

From the lower four syndicates, the Swedish Victory chose the French Le Defi Areva for its quarterfinal, leaving GBR to face Stars & Stripes.

Executive director of Alinghi Michel Bonnefous said it was not an easy decision.

"The choice was difficult to make because the three teams are all at the highest level of competition. We believe that Prada is the logical choice to race at this stage of the competition."

Prada, which lost 5-0 to Team New Zealand in the 2000 America's Cup of Auckland, placed fourth at the end of round robin racing.

Oracle BMW Racing and OneWorld finished equal with 12 points, although Oracle placed second on a countback due to its second-round win over OneWorld.

The top four teams make up the 'double-chance group.' The winners advance directly to the semifinals, while the losers get another chance to stay in the competition in the quarterfinal repechage.

Among the lower ranked competitors -- the 'single-chance group' -- the losing teams will be eliminated, while the winners face the losers from the top group in the repechage.

Mascalzone Latino became the first of the nine challenger teams to be eliminated at the end of the second round robin.

The series is held to determine a challenger for the America's Cup holder Team New Zealand. Racing for the America's Cup begins on February 15.

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