Williams tops group in Stena Match Cup

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The Independent Online

A final round robin win put Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar at the top of Group B in the Stena Match Cup of Sweden with a 6-1 scoreline, giving him the chance to choose his quarter final opponent.

Ben Ainslie joins former world champion Williams in the quarters as Jesper Radich of Denmark topped a Group A which saw the current world champion, Adam Minoprio of New Zealand, tumbling out of contention.

Radich went for Francesco Bruni, leaving Williams with the man he had always planned to\pick, Sweden's Magnus Holmberg for the best of five.

In the Stena Match Cup for women, Britain's Lucy Macgregor, with sister Kate and Annie Lush, was in winning form for the a best of five quarter finals staged largely in cold winds and pouring rain.

She was leading her Danish opponent Lotte Meldgard Pedersen 2-0 when the wind turned off with Australia's Katie Spithill, now Pellew, trailing Sweden's Anna Kjellberg 1-2.

Ekaterina Skudina of Russia had already secured her place in the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over the previously strong Silke Hahlbrock of Germany, as had Renee Groenevald of The Netherlands with a clean sweep over Anne-Claire le Berre of France.

The British trio is the one that will go through to the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta at Weymouth in August, which will also act as a second full-scale test for the Olympic Games, which will be staged there in 2012.

San Francisco is now the only the USA city under consideration to host the next America's Cup in 2013. That means that Newport, Rhode Island, Long Beach, California, and San Diego, California, have been eliminated. But, while the only USA candidate, San Francisco, which is also the home town of current holder, the Golden Gate Yacht Club on behalf of the BMW Oracle team and its owner, Larry Ellison, has yet to be selected.

Nor is 2013 set in stone. Although the recently published protocol outlined a timetable of six regattas in both 2011 and 2012 and looked forward to a two-month round of final challenger eliminations and the match itself in 2013, the latest statement says it could be 2013 or 2014 “the year to be determined by infrastructure lead times.”

There are also four more bids under consideration from unnamed European cities, two of which are thought to be Valencia, where the cup was staged in both 2007 and earlier this year, and Cascais, near Lisbon.

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom says: “We are very honoured to lead a national effort to host the 34th America's Cup and we are prepared to leverage the nation's support to make this a coast to coast campaign.”

A decision, along with clearer timing and the type of boat to be used, is promised before the end of the year.

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