What we learned... The Val di Sole World Cup

An old master, a young pretender and one Furiously quick new GT.
Rachel Atherton at the Val di Sole World Cup © Sven Martin/Red Bull Content Pool
By Ric McLaughlin

01 Fort Bill was no Atherton fluke

Gee and Rachel's domination of the previous weekend's Fort William World Cup was no flash in the pan. If history has taught us one thing about the Athertons it's that once on a roll, they can be hard to stop. The battering he's had to endure at the hands of Gwin over the last few seasons has seemingly galvanised Gee. Wins in both Scotland and Italy are proof that he has the speed to make 2013 his own. 

02 Never underestimate Troy

The young Specialized Racing rider was a relative footnote in many people's preseason form book but a podium here serves as a reminder that he's a lot more than simply a rider re-finding his feet after injury. As the Californian outfit battle to realign a misfiring Gwin, could their real title contender be emerging from the other side of their pit?

03 Smith has the makings of a great

Another weekend, another podium and Stevie is sitting second in the overall standings. It all seems to be slotting together for the Canadian rider currently bossing it on a Canadian bike. On this kind of form he looks on track to more than better his debut World Cup triumph.

04 More heartbreak for Hart 

After a strong showing during qualifying at Fort William, 2013 is already shaping up as one to forget for Giant rider, Danny Hart. The 2011 World Champ cut a frustrated figure as he shook the hands of the riders in the hot seat whose times he'd failed to trouble. During the month off he'll hopefully have time to press 'reset' and start again.

05 The new GT Fury works

When it was spotted in pre-season matte black prototype guise forums and message boards erupted decrying the new GT as just plain 'ugly'. Four World Cup wins in two weeks and some yellow graphics however do wonders for ones image/pre-orders...

06 Sam Hill still has it

The now CRC Nuke Proof rider's name will forever be synonymous with this Italian hillside. Right up until he head-butted the ground on one of the lower turns, his run at the 2008 World Champs was verging on the miraculous. The groundswell of support the Aussie rolled into the start hut with on Sunday was testament to the fact that not only do the fans still believe that he's still capable of such magic but also that they still want to see it too.

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