By Mike Rowbottom

Elodie Clouvel_19-03-12March 18 - Elodie Clouvel (pictured) of France, who narrowly missed out on a 200 metres freestyle spot on the French team at the Beijing 2008 Olympics won her first World Cup event in her newly adopted sport of modern pentathlon in Rio de Janeiro.

Aleksander Lesun also pushed his claim to one of the two places which will be available for the Russian men's team at London 2012 as he finished with a huge margin of victory on the course where the modern pentathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympics will take place.

Clouvel held off a fast finishing Ekaterina Khuriskina – the Russian who moved from 16th position to earn silver in the second World Cup of the season,  just ahead of Australia's Chloe Esposito, who had earned her first World Cup medal in the first event of the year at Charlotte in the United States – which was only her sixth World Cup.

The 22-year-old Frenchwomen started off the day by finishing in the fencing, which she considers her weakest discipline.

This was followed by a swim which was four seconds faster than her nearest rival.

After a faultless bike ride she was in gold medal position for the combined event, and maintained it.

"It is fantastic, I am very very happy, it was my day," said Clouvel, whose teammate Amélie Cazé, a triple world champion, finished tenth.

"I have been only doing modern pentathlon for three years, it is a dream come true to win this gold, I love modern pentathlon."

Khuriskina, who won the fourth World Cup last year, commented: "I am definitely very happy.

"I did not start the day well in the fencing because I had troubles with my leg and then I did not swim well either.

"So, I thought my day was over before the combined, but then I did amazing, I shot so well and ran so fast which I was very surprised about."

aleksander lesun_19-03-121
Lesun (pictured) won silver at last year's World Championships and at three World Cup events but this was his first World Cup gold since 2010.

Having started the day by winning the fencing, Lesun maintained his overall lead through to the combined event despite an 11th place in the swim and a less than perfect ride.

Outstanding shooting then made the 24-year-old's task in the combined event a formality.

Lesun took his 15 shots in a super-quick 37.8 seconds which allowed him to casually jog around the last 1,000m for a very satisfying victory.

"I am very happy but very tired, with the sun of Rio de Janeiro," Lesun said.

"I had a bit of a bad ride which is a small problem for me."

When asked if he was the best pentathlete in the world he responded: "Yes, I feel like I am the best, no problem, I am on top of the world."

Lesun's teammate, Sergei Karyakin, the 2010 world champion won a dramatic sprint in the last 100m to take the silver medal ahead of Italy's combined event world record holder Riccardo de Luca, who had raced up from 18th place before the combined event.

China's Cao Zhongrong had a very impressive day to clinch fourth position, with Pavlo Tymoschenko of the Ukraine following up his silver medal from the opening World Cup with fifth place and Britain's Nick Woodbridge holding on for a well-earned sixth.

Woodbridge's teammate Sam Weale finished one place behind him.

Unusually, Britain's women finished outside the medals in Brazil, with Olympic silver medallist Heather Fell taking 13th place, Freyja Prentice coming home in 15th, Katy Livingston finishing a place behind her and Mhairi Spence, who took silver at the opening World Cup, ending up in 25th place.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) secretary general Joël Bouzou commented: "It is very pleasing to see so many different nations getting top positions here in Rio.

"We had Chloe Esposito from Australia get third, Aya Medany from Egypt get fourth and local Brazilian Yane Marques got sixth.

"This, together with Cao from China winning fourth place and medals for both eastern and western Europe means we are proving how truly global we are."

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