AmericaOne lost to Le Defi Francais in the America's Cup challenge round, and skipper Paul Cayard dealt with accusations that his team threw the race.

Although the loss meant little to AmericaOne, which already qualified for next month's series semifinals, it had major implications for Le Defi Francais and Young America.

If Cayard and his crew had beaten the French, Young America would have passed Le Defi Francais for the sixth spot on the Cup points table.

After the completion of the round robin, only six syndicates move on to the semifinals.

Cayard said his team did not throw the race, in wind conditions that ranged from 10 to 16 knots. "We went out there and we put on our best effort," Cayard said. "We raced hard, we won the start, we did a lot of shucking and jiving out there and it was a closer race than many of the races I have been in in this Cup."

The race was close with the finish-line separation of 25 seconds being the biggest split between the yachts.

"The guys [the French] aren't slow," Cayard said. "All I can say is let all the doubters race the French. The guys are not bad and everyone will see that."

Results yesterday in the third round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series for the America's Cup in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf:

Star and Stripes def. Abracadabra by 1 minute 35 seconds.

Nippon def. Young Australia by :30.

Prada def. America True by :54.

Le Defi Francais def. AmericaOne by :25.

Young America def. Spanish Challenge by 2:13.

Points Standings

Prada 100

AmericaOne 99

America True 92

Nippon 83.5

Stars and Stripes 72.5

Le Defi Francais 59

Young America 51

Spanish Challenge 44

Abracadabra 43

Young Australia 18

Fast 2000 8