It is a feat which must be seen to be believed.
The world’s greatest skiers have a difficult time tackling the legendary Streif course in Kitzbuhel, regarded as the toughest downhill race in Alpine skiing. There are almost always wobbles, often crashes and, inevitably, injuries.
No-one had attempted to take the 3.3km plunge on two wheels before — until Austrian Max Stockl decided to negotiate the merciless Alpine slopes on his mountain bike, becoming the first downhill biker to complete the Streif in winter.
Stockl, who reached a top speed of 103.64 km/h on the Streif, said: “When you are able to ride with your bike on a slope like that, it is a special honor for me, and I wanted to offer the necessary respect by not ruining the work put in by the ski club by knocking out huge sections of fencing.
“The famous key sections were tough for me too, and I had to really battle to clear the gates.”
The 43-year-old is accustomed to breaking records. He smashed the world speed record in 2007 by going 210 km/h over snow in the Chilean Andes and is also the fastest on the planet on dirt slopes. At the end of 2016, he reached a speed of 167.6 km/h in the Atacama Desert on his mass-produced mountain bike.
How did the Austrian achieve his feat on the Streif? He used 15mm long spikes and a carbon mudguard, but other than that Stockl — the head of a mountain bike racing team — used his usual downhill biking gear.
“The only thing that is different is the screws on the bike, and I got a mudguard made. I don’t ride downhill mountain bikes with special parts. It has to be a bike — not a motorbike without an engine,” he said.