Andre Greipel’s impact on the Tour Down Under is as emphatic as Mark Cavendish’s on the Tour de France.
Sure it’s a much smaller race, but in terms of a winning percentage, Greipel has done better.
In the 2013 TDU, Greipel took out three stages. His victory on the final day’s racing was arguably his best win of the week, fitting really given it was the 100th win of his career.
Greipel first raced at the Tour Down Under in 2008 and has been here for every race. He’s contested at total of 38 races including the ‘Classics’ and has won 17.
But when you consider not every stage is meant for sprinters, his win percentage goes through the roof.
Take out the non-sprinter stages and Greipel has won 17 of a possible 24 stages. That’s a remarkable 71%.
That figure is even more incredible when you consider Greipel failed to win any of the TDU’s four sprinters’ races/stages in 2011 and he crashed out of the 2009 race during stage three when he’d already won a stage.
In 2008 when Greipel won in Willunga, a ‘non-sprinter’ stage, race Director Mike Turtur felt compelled to act and in 2011 added in an extra circuit of the climb to make sure sprinters didn’t become too dominant.
Compare those numbers to Mark Cavendish.
Since first appearing at the Tour de France in 2007, he’s raced in 57 stages classified as ‘flat’. He’s won 23 times, a win percentage of 40.
Yes, the competition is harder at the Tour de France as more riders focus their season on July, but the TDU has always been an attractive race for quality sprinters.
You can’t argue with the numbers, they’re not even close.
Both are still yet to peak and will hopefully go head to head in July, in what could be one of the best sprint showdowns ever.
As long as the Tour Down Under maintains its World Tour status, it will remain a quality race, attracting quality riders.
But however many years this race keeps going for, it’s hard to imagine a rider better than Andre Greipel.
He may be the best ever rider to race on the streets of Adelaide.