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Tale of the Tape: Allan Davis vs. Graeme Brown

The Tour Down Under may get taken out of the sprinters' hands when the race hits the Willunga hills on today's circuit, but so far the battle has largely featured two similar riders: Graeme Brown and Allan Davis. Both are Australian, sprinters, pushing thirty (soon), and fixtures on the B-list of sprint stage pack finishers, often found working for a star boss. Fortunately they look nothing alike. And maybe, just maybe, there are other ways to distinguish them for the casual fan.

Recall, here at the Cafe we are tinkering with some statistics as a way to evaluate riders, and in the case of sprinters there are some obvious places to explore: wins, percentage of sprints where the rider at least had a shot at winning, average placing, and head to head. The latter statistic takes on some added importance when considering guys who aren't always the team's pick to win that day. Anyway, without further ado, here are some comparisons between Davis and Brown, from January, 2007 to the present:

Rider %Finale Wins Win% AvPlace Top 10% Top 5% Head2Head
Graeme Brown 91 4 5.8 8.3 67 52 6
Allan Davis 78 8 11 5.6 80 58 15

The numbers give Davis a clear advantage. Only one caveat: it would be better if I could examine each stage a little more closely and eliminate the days when Davis has been working for Boonen (probably very few) and when Brown has been working for Oscar Freire (potentially many more). The effect of being a setup man is to make the finale, pull off before the line, and take a middlin' placing, e.g. in the teens. Brown has a fair number of those. If I get time, I will try to examine if the numbers are in fact skewed by Brown's team obligations.

Absent that, though, Davis is clearly the more accomplished sprinter. Four wins in two years for Brown is a pretty small number, and while Davis' 8 aren't earth-shattering, he has had moments of dominance in smaller races. Maybe Davis has simply had better opportunities, and in watching the TdU, the difference in quality is ever so slim. So even if you want to declare Davis the head-to-head winner, they're a pretty equal match.