By Mike Rowbottom

Helen Glover (left) and Heather Stanning, pictured after winning the women's pair at the London 2012 Games, won their first race together since then at the World Cup in France ©Getty ImagesLondon 2012 champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning got back onto the gold standard today in their first international race together since the Olympics as they helped Britain dominate the World Rowing Cup II at Lake Aiguebelette in France with victory in the women's pair.

Stanning, who took a year out in 2013 to fulfil her commitments as an Army captain in Afghanistan before returning to elite competition this year, is clearly back at the top of her game, and she and her partner - who won the world title with Polly Swann last year - led from start to finish.

"It feels fantastic to be back. I knew it was in us, we just had to get out there and do it," said Stanning.

Britain's 'flagship' men's boat of the four - dubbed the "machine Britannique" here by course commentators - was a predictable and overwhelming winner also on a day when there were two other British winning performances.

he "machine Britannique'"- Britain's men's four (from left) Alex Gregory, Moe Sbihi, George Nash, Andy Triggs Hodge won at the World Cup in France today ©Getty ImagesThe "machine Britannique'"- Britain's men's four (from left) Alex Gregory, Moe Sbihi, George Nash, Andy Triggs Hodge won at the World Cup in France today ©Getty Images

Further golds were contributed by the men's quadruple scullers - whose crew of Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert won a hugely competitive race with Germany - and the women's lightweight double scullers Kat Copeland, another London 2012 champion, and her partner Imogen Walsh.

The newly constituted British four of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Andrew Triggs Hodge, which took the European title earlier this month, led from start to finish in a race where Australia won a tough battle with the United States for silver.

Britain's haul of four golds, three silvers and three bronzes, put them top of the medals table ahead of New Zealand, who collected five golds and a bronze, and the host nation, which earned three golds, a silver and a bronze.

The gold New Zealand would have most confidently predicted duly arrived in the men's pair, where Eric Murray and Hamish Bond maintained their five-year domination of this event by finishing ten seconds ahead of silver medallists Germany.

There was gold too for New Zealand in the women's single sculls, where Emma Twigg, who beat Australia's world champion Kim Crow at the first World Rowing Cup of the season in Sydney, maintained her position in the standings with another assured victory.

New Zealand's Emma Twigg improved her hopes of winning a global title in the single sculls with victory at Lake Aiguebelette in the World Cup race ©Getty ImagesNew Zealand's Emma Twigg improved her hopes of winning a global title in the single sculls with victory at Lake Aiguebelette in the World Cup race ©Getty Images

Twigg, fourth at the London 2012 Games and yet to win a senior world title, appears to have taken a significant step upwards as far as her ambitions are concerned.

China's Jingli Duan took silver ahead of Magdalena Lobnig of Austria, with the Czech Republic's Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova finishing fourth.

In the men's single sculls there was defeat for Knapkova's compatriot Ondrej Synek.

The reigning world champion had been beaten in the semi-finals by New Zealand's Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale, and that result was repeated in the final.

Drysdale, for whom this was the first international outing of the season, timed his effort to perfection to overtake Synek in the closing stages.

In the women's eight, the world and Olympic champions from the United States maintained their top status as they came past early leaders Canada in the final part of the race.

The US men won their eight final too, edging Britain into second place as they finished in 5min 41.51sec.

There was no more popular victory for the home team than that of Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou in the lightweight men's double sculls.

The French pair, who had vowed they would never again finish fourth as they did at the last Olympics, were unable to compete together last year after Delayre was hit by another boat.

But the restored duo announced their intentions by winning the European title earlier this month, and they led all the way on home waters to finish well clear of the German pairing of 20-year-olds, Jason Osborne and Moritz Moos.

The men's double sculls produced a classic race as the world champions, brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia, held off a determined challenge from Azerbaijan's Boris Yotov and Aleksandar Aleksandrov and the Australian pairing of James McRae and Alexander Belonogoff.

The Azerbaijan pair took over the lead from Croatia at the 700m mark, but the favourites responded to edge ahead, with Australia having to settle for bronze.

China's Tiexin Wang, winner of the lightweight single sculls at the first World Cup of the season, maintained his standing after seeing off a strong German challenge.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
June 2014: "Machine Britannique" getting into top gear at World Rowing Cup II in France
June 2014: Serbian men's pair earn shock gold to spark home celebrations in European Rowing Championships
May 2014: British men's four "flagship" on course for European gold in Belgrade but face Greek challenge
May 2014: Germany's Olympic eight champions and British men's four set European best times in Belgrade
March 2014: Australia take top honours as Sydney hosts World Rowing Cup season opener