Eric Murray and Hamish Bond won New Zealand's only gold medal at the World Cup rowing regatta in Switzerland but they didn't have it all their own way.
The three-time world champions have been in a class of their own and victory overnight (NZT), their fourth successive win at the Lucerne regatta since they formed their magnificent partnership after the Beijing Olympics, continues their unbeaten run in this Olympic cycle.
They powered home to win the men's pair final at Lucerne in six minutes 24.04 seconds and confirm their favouritism for a London Olympics gold medal.
But with the British pair of Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge having moved to the four for the Olympics, a new challenger has emerged in the form of the Canadian crew of Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen.
The Beijing silver medallists fired a warning shot over the Kiwis' bow by leading them at the halfway mark, though in typical fashion Bond and Murray were able to pick up the pace in the second half of the race and eventually edged away to a three-second victory.
The Kiwis were only fourth at the 500m mark but had moved up to first place at the 1500m mark.
Other than their gold, New Zealand collected three silvers and a bronze.
Mahe Drysdale was beaten into second by his great rival Ondrej Synek of Czech Republic in the men's single sculls te the late finals session.
Synek's time of 6.44.54 was too good for Drysdale who finished well ahead of third placed Angel Fournier Rodriguez with a time of 6.45.06.
A frenetic finish saw Southlander Storm Uru, 27, and Lower Hutt's Peter Taylor, 28, grab second place in the men's lightweight double sculls after a disastrous start. They were sixth at 500m, fourth at the halfway mark and third at 1500m before pacesetters Canada lost the plot completely.
The Canadians slipped back to fourth, gifting France the race in 6.22.78 with Uru and Taylor (6.24.32) second and Denmark (6.24.97) third.
Southlander Louise Ayling and Rotorua's Julia Edward continued their meteoric rise in the women's lightweight double sculls rank.
Ayling, 24, and Edward, 21, only teamed up for the first time at the New Zealand trials last February but they set a world best time in their heat at Lucerne, and sculled consistently to hold second place throughout in the final, finishing just 0.2 seconds behind China's Dongxian Xu and Wenyi Huang in one of the races of the day.
Current world champions Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown had to settle for third in the women's pair final. They were in second place after 500m but were overtaken by the United States by the halfway mark and could not make up the deficit.
World championship bronze medallists Fiona Paterson and Anna Reymer could only finish fifth in the double sculls final in 7:00.45, while Jade Uru, Tyson Williams, Chris Harris and Sean O'Neill were last in the men's four final won by Great Britain from Australia and Greece.
After the break, the New Zealand men's quadruple sculls team of John Storey, Michael Arms, Steven Cottle and Robert Manson finished fifth in a final won by Croatia from Germany. The Kiwis were last at the halfway stage but managed to zip past Poland.
Emma Twigg didn't fare well in her single sculls final, coming in fifth in a time of 7.40.79. The race was won by China's Xiuyun Zhang in 7.25.49. Sarah Gray was second in the B final for eighth overall.
The New Zealand women's quadruple sculls crew of Genevieve Armstrong, Louise Trappitt, Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane finished just outside the placings in their final.
Ten of the 11 Kiwi Olympic teams qualified for A finals at Lucerne but double world champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan sensationally failed to make the men's double sculls final after finishing a disappointing fifth in their semifinal.
They faced further disappointment by finishing sixth in the B final for 12th overall.
HOW THE KIWIS FARED
Gold - men's pair
Silver - women's lightweight double scull, men's lightweight double scull, men's single scull
Bronze - women's pair
Fourth - women's quad scull
Fifth - women's double scull, men's quad scull, women's single scull (Twigg)
Sixth - men's four
Eighth - women's single scull (Gray)
12th - men's double scull