Alice Franco eased to victory in the Macedonian-leg of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series ©Getty Images

Home star Evgenij Pop Acev and Italy's Alice Franco were the winners of the fourth leg of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Open Water Swimming Grand Prix on Macedonia's Lake Ohrid.

Competing over a gruelling 33 kilometres course, Pov Acev broke clear late on to triumph by six seconds over Brazil's Matheus Evangelista in 5 hours 39min 42sec.

Tomi Stefanovski ensured a second Macedonian presence on the podium, finishing six seconds behind to take bronze.

Although he finished only 13th over 25km at last month's World Championships in Kazan, Pov Acev continued his good form on the World Cup circuit, challenging for the overall lead after also picking up points at the opening three legs in Argentina, Mexico and Canada. 

His closest rivals for the overall title ahead of next months finale in Italy, France's Bertrand Venturi and Canada's Xavier Desharnais, finished fourth and fifth respectively on this occasion.

Franco was a far more dominant winner on the women's side, finishing in 5:44.03, six minutes ahead of Russia's  medallist Ana Mankevich.

Spain's Esther Nunez Morera was a further six minutes back in thrird place, gaining her third podium finish of the season.

Argentina's Pilar Geijo, overall leader before the race, having won the Canadian leg in Lac St-Jean, had to be content with fourth.

The fifth and last event on the Grand Prix circuit will consist of the traditional 36km crossing between Napoli and Capri, due to take place on September 6.

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