Greipel may be the best rider to race on the streets of Adelaide

John Thompson-Mills Columnist

By John Thompson-Mills, John Thompson-Mills is a Roar Expert

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    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.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • Roar Guru

      January 30th 2013 @ 9:27am
      Bones506 said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      What is even more remarkable is that Griepel was at HTC and was second fiddle to Cav whcih makes his stage wins even more impressive.

      In terms of pure Speed cav is certainly faster and is better at picking up wheels, very much like McEwen. Griepel thrives on the sprint train and really does need Henderson and Hansen to get him there. If the train fails then Griepel often struggles.

      Don’t get me wrong – I admire both of them and have enermous respect for Griepel and his willingness to turn up to the TDU in Jan in blistering form.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 30th 2013 @ 12:32pm
      Justin Curran said | January 30th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      Greipel is an absolutue animal. He is always in top form in January and somehow manages to maintain that form all year. However I think all things being equal, Cav is the best and the fastest sprinter in the world. Cav needs to make a mistake in order for Greipel to have a chance. The battle between those two was one of the highlights of last years Tour de France and I am looking forward to watching them again this year.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 1:20pm
        Kasey said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        I wish the Govt of SA/City of ADL would take back the keys to the city presented to the cyclist who shall not be named and hand them over to Andre Greipel. He is a complete gentleman and a very quick cyclist. He always seems happy to be in Adelaide for the TDU and the fans love seeing him pull rabbits from his hat and claim stage win after stage win in Australia’s premiere cycling event.

        • Roar Guru

          January 30th 2013 @ 2:22pm
          Bones506 said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

          Great idea on keys to the city.

          I don’t really have an issue with the payments made to those we shall not name. At the time he was consider ‘clean’ and he really helped make the TDU an internationally recognised race that the riders love to come and race.

    • Columnist

      January 30th 2013 @ 2:36pm
      Kate Smart said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

      Bones, I think your last comment is pretty spot on. Agreed.

    • Columnist

      January 30th 2013 @ 4:58pm
      Lee Rodgers said | January 30th 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

      Would anyone argue though that Cav is the greatest sprinter of all-time? For me, winning on the Champs Elysee four times in a row just says it all. That amazing clip of him flying up the inside past Thor Hushovd a couple of years ago was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever seen.

      It’s kind of impossible to rate these things, but, considering in terms of his win rate, his dominance over his peers and the fact that he’s won Milan-San Remo and the World’s road race, as well as being a track world champion – and, let’s say he is as clean as he says – then he could stake a claim to being the best rider of his generation. The Grand Tour winners and the one day stars like Philippe Gilbert always go down in history, and we forget the sprinters (there are exceptions like Mario Cipollini), but I think has already sealed his place in the pantheon of the sport.

      ‘The best’ might be a stretch, but in my book he at least credits consideration.

      He’s still only 27 and just 11 Tour wins behind the all-time leader in Tour de France stage wins, Mr. Eddy Merckx (34), but if he continues for say another three years in his usual form, that record could be at least equaled. He’ll never win a Grand Tour but his achievements are no less incredible.

      Having said that, I think the measure of a champion must include the man himself, and on that score I think Cavendish is not the greatest role model. Maybe he needs his anger and arrogance to be so good, but if it came down to it I’d rather have a pint with Greipel!

      Greipel is very, very good, no bones about it, but he’ll have to defeat Cavendish consistently and on the biggest stage to be rated alongside him.

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