Lena Schoeneborn asserted her class once more as she teamed up with Patrick Dogue to win mixed relay gold for Germany at the second stage of the 2016 International Modern Pentathlon Federation (UIPM) World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
The final race of the Rio 2016 Olympic test event saw an intriguing tussle for top honours between Germany and Egypt; two countries that have already stamped their mark on this year's World Cup with medals both in Brazil and at the opening stage in Cairo last month.
In the end, reigning individual world champion Schoeneborn drilled home her superiority, allowing the Germans to comfortably prevail.
Egypt’s Haydy Morsy and Eslam Hamad held on to the silver medal and Japan’s Natsumi Tomonaga and Tomoya Miguchi took bronze.
The German duo started as they meant to go on, creating a 25-point lead over the rest of the field in the opening two disciplines.
In the fencing ranking round, Schoeneborn and Dogue won 30 of their 42 bouts, with each of the eight competing nations meeting each other seven times on the piste.
Swimming did not go quite so well for the Germans, whose time of 2min 02.96sec was only the fifth fastest.
Tomonaga and Miguchi were easily the quickest with 1:54.92, ahead of China’s Wei Danni and Su Halhang and Mexico’s Elena Nogueda and Alvaro Sandoval.
Morsy and Hamad kept the pressure on the leaders by winning the final bout in the fencing bonus round, and then coming out on top in the riding.
The Egyptians scored highest with 289 thanks to a single seven-point penalty and a four-point time penalty.
By contrast, Schoeneborn and Dogue incurred 31 penalty points overall, leading them to concede most of their advantage heading into the combined event.
There, despite enjoying a buffer of only five seconds, the pairing reasserted themselves and never looked like being threatened.
"Finally we are through - it was a lot of effort," said Schoeneborn, winner of the silver medal in the women's individual race on Saturday (March 12).
"It was good to find out how the venues are going to be in the Olympics - it was good for us to try the horses once again although we lost a few points in this discipline today.
"Overall, of course we are happy having the gold medal.
"For me it was good because it gave me some points for the internal Olympic qualifying ranking, which is still going on, and because it gave me some self-confidence to know that I can perform well in these venues.
"I'm going to have one more World Cup this season, and then keep training for the summer."
Dogue admitted the victory was even more satisfying because he had not been fully fit.
"It was about having fun," he said.
"I got a little injury on my finger yesterday, so I was not sure if I could compete but we tried, and it was good - we had a lot of fun."
After six days of competition, UIPM President Klaus Schormann reflected on the Olympic test event with satisfaction while acknowledging that work remains to be done on fine-tuning the facilities and the organisational flow of the competition, which will take place in Deodoro Park as it did this week.
"Modern pentathlon will be one of the biggest highlights of the 2016 Olympic Games, thanks to our five disciplines and thanks to the high performance of our athletes," he said.
"It will be a big surprise for many people in the media to see the big challenge of bonus fencing, and to see that our combined event is much better than it was at the London Olympics in 2012.
"We will deliver a great pentathlon stadium, knowing that only the swimming is outside of this stadium, so this test event was the right time to test the technical parts, to test all of our surroundings and equipment, and very important to find and test the right horses.
"Now we have the opportunity to make some modifications - I have discussed it with Celso Silva, the Rio 2016 competition manager, what we have in mind - and we will review the reports from this test event and then go forward maybe with some new guidelines for the Olympic Games."
The 2016 UIPM World Cup is set to resume in Rome from March 30 to April 3 before moving on to Kecskemét in Hungary from April 14 to 18 and culminating with the World Cup Final in Sarasota-Bradenton in the United States from May 6 to 8.