By Mike Rowbottom

Nicola Benedetti_wins_Hungary_April_2012April 15 - Nicola Benedetti (pictured) of Italy won his first gold in the modern pentathlon World Cup after beating double Olympic champion Andrei Moiseev in Százhalombatta.

The women's title went to Amélie Cazé, France's triple world champion, whose performance indicated she was well and truly over the injury she sustained at this event last year and which undermined her subsequent efforts in 2011.

Russian Moiseev took silver ahead of home athlete Peter Tibolya, who claimed the first World Cup medal of his career in the third event of the 2012 series.

Benedetti (pictured below), who cites Moiseev as his most inspiring person, started the day by producing his best-ever fencing performance to finish third; a good swim and a near-perfect ride meant he started the combined shoot/run event in seventh place.

"I had the perfect day," Benedetti said.

"I shot 10 from 10 in my first two shoots then five from eight in the last which was enough.

"I knew I had won on the last lap as my running is very good.

"This medal means so much to me."

Moiseev made up for not making the final of the first World Cup of the season by taking his first World Cup medal since 2007.

"I had some problems at World Cup 1, but I have rectified them now," he said.

"I was very happy with all my results today, but I still made many little mistakes in the fencing [despite winning] and shooting.

"I thought I could hold off Benedetti, but he was just too fast – silver is very good, though."

Tibolya become a local hero by taking bronze.

"This first World Cup medal is very important to me, and it means much more to win it in front of my family and friends in a good atmosphere," he said.

"The key for me today was my fencing, where everything went my way.

"I was desperately trying to keep up with him [Moiseev], but my running is still not the best after I injured my foot in Rio.

"At the end I don't mind – bronze is a fantastic result for me."

Triple Olympic Games veteran Denis Cerkovskis of Latvia produced his best performance since winning this event in 2009 to finish fourth, just ahead of David Svoboda of the Czech Republic, who showed glimpses of the form that won him gold at this event 12 months ago.

In the women's event, Cazé (pictured) held off the challenge of the legendary Donata Rimsaitė of Russia, who is also making a comeback trial after injury, and Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania, who came from 17th position to snatch bronze from the impressive Samantha Murray of Britain, who had to settle for fourth.

"I can't believe it," said an Cazé.

"Last year was very difficult but I am now starting to regain confidence.

"I struggled with my running at World Cup 2 [she finished 10th in Rio] so for the past three weeks I have been training just for running and it paid off.

"But I still have a lot of work to do if I want to win gold in London."

The Frenchwoman finished second in the fencing behind Ramsaitė but confessed: "My head just was not right and it was my worse discipline of the day."

A trademark quick swim and a near flawless ride meant she enjoyed a 20-second lead heading into the combined event.

Cazé then completed the shooting in 47.6sec which led her to an historic win.

Like Cazé, the former world number one Ramsaitė struggled in 2011 with illness and injury and is only now regaining form.

"After the fencing I just wanted to survive the competition," said the double World Cup Final winner.

"Until the end I did not expect to be in the top three, I just tried to do my best and that was second place so that is great.

"I am really happy to be able to compete with the big guns again."

Asadauksaite produced one of her trademark combined event charges coming from 17th to claim the bronze medal.

"I had no idea I was in third position, I just ran and ran," she said.

"I thought I was about sixth!"

Murray kept her London 2012 hopes alive with a devastating shooting performance of 37.4, moving her from 20th to fourth in the combined event, in which she finished eight seconds off the bronze position.

"I'm really pleased, I've worked so hard," said Murray, a French and Politics student at the University of Bath, who travelled to Hungary ranked 23 in the world.

"I'm so proud and grateful to everyone who has helped me.

"It was a personal best for me in the shoot today, and I felt so good running and strong in the pool."

Janine Kohlmann of Germany made up for her poor start to the year to finish fifth while compatriot Lena Schöneborn, the world number one, finished in an unfamiliar sixth position.

Like Murray, it was a good day for fellow Briton Mhairi Spence who also secured a top-10 finish, coming eighth.

The World Cup Series now heads to Rostov, Russia, for World Cup 4 starting next Thursday (April 19).

World Cup 4 offers the last chance for the pentathletes to qualify for the crucial World Cup Final in Chengdu, China, in May.

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