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He was first out of the water in record time, first off the bike (but only just) and a comfortable first across the finish line.
• Slideshow: Challenge Wanaka
The man who almost gave triathlon away in 2012 said it was awesome to win again and he paid tribute to Wanaka's Dougal Allan for a hurry up on the cycle leg.
''Dougal rode so well, and he was just pushing me the whole way.''
It was no surprise to see swim specialist McNeice leave the water first at the end of the 3.8km swim.
And, given the calm conditions and the relatively warm 17degC water temperature, it was also not too much of a surprise his time of 45min 33sec was 52sec better than the swim record he set last year.
But a bigger surprise came 2min 45sec later, when Australian triathlete Michael Fox (26), unknown in New Zealand, emerged in second place.
Fox's profile showed no previous full course triathlon form but an enthusiasm for open ocean swimming.
Holding third was last weekend's Coast to Coast champion Braden Currie, 4min 28sec behind McNeice, with Gina Crawford, of Wanganui, chasing her sixth Challenge Wanaka title, just 1min 27sec further back.
Allan was so far behind his name did not feature in the top 30 of the leader board but it was rumoured he was 17 or 18 long minutes behind McNeice.
On the bike leg, Crawford had it all her own way - 5min 40sec ahead of her nearest rival, Michelle Bremer, of Mount Maunganui, at the 12km mark and still leading by 6min 38sec at the end of the bike leg, although Laura Siddall, of San Francisco, had replaced Bremer in second position.
The main cycle action was in the men's field.
By the 34km mark, Fox had crept up on McNeice, trailing by just 1min 31sec, and Currie was third, another 2min 11sec back.
But by the 100km mark, Allan had taken over second spot, 3min 48sec behind McNeice and Currie had dropped to sixth.
And there was more to come from Allan.
By the 160km mark he had closed the gap to 1min 17sec and at the transition to the run had made up all but 5sec of the time he lost in the swim.
But that was as good as it got for Allan, as McNeice, comfortable enough as temperatures climbed, stretched his lead on the 42.2km run home.
After 8km he was 1min ahead of Allan and more than 10min ahead of the rest of the field. Currie needed to make up almost 14min 16sec at the start of his run.
McNeice kept adding to his lead and so did Crawford, who was 11min ahead of Siddall at the 21km mark and finished 11min 55sec clear.
Crawford said the race had gone ''smoothly'' for her and she was now looking ahead to an Ironman event in a fortnight.
McNeice stormed home in 8hr 37min 14sec, leaving himself the option next year of trying to carve off the 3min he would need to claim the course record.
Currie finished fifth, almost 19min back, and Fox sixth.
Craig Savage, of Christchurch, won the men's Lake Wanaka half from Brett Tingay, also of Christchurch, and Hannah Wells, of Auckland, won the women's half, ahead of Coast to Coast winner Jess Simson, of Wanaka.